Cider makers bring cheer to Westminster

Cider makers bring cheer to Westminster

Gordon Johncox, the chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) and the chief executive of Aston Manor Cider, addressed MPs, government officials and industry figures to outline a British success story in need of support.

Gordon outlined how collaboration across the industry by cider makers of all scales is a positive feature, though the hard-pressed sector still needs support from government.

As a relatively small industry, representing the best interests of every cider maker informs all aspects of activity of the NACM. The vision of the association is that all producers can operate successfully and fairly in a competitive market, whilst continuing to support their communities, employees and apple growers.

To enable this, he called for a balanced regulatory environment for cider makers reflecting the unique circumstances of producers. In particular, MPs, Ministers and officials were urged to deliver a consistent application of regulations.

Gordon challenged the Government’s willingness to understand the specific situations of cider makers. While headlines from the Autumn budget stated that cider duty was frozen, ciders in the middle duty band received a 25% tax increase, impacting many small cider makers.

Following his speech, Gordon commented: “Cider businesses of all sizes are working hard to deliver a sustainable future for the benefit of consumers and the rural environment. The industry is a significant part of British heritage.

“We need the support of politicians to work with us to return cider to more positive results, remove red tape and the unnecessary rules that limit innovation and investment.  This support can enable cider makers produce fantastic products that interest in our category.

“We work to see every cider maker flourish and grow in line with their ambitions, whilst maintaining the highest standards. We firmly believe that with our collaborative nature and how we support one another this can be achieved when we can rely on consistent and sensible legislation.

“In recent months we have seen members providing orcharding experts when others experience weather related problems, large companies have supported smaller producers to expand their packaging ranges. When something is challenging or if advice is needed, small producers will always be supported, and to me, this is why the UK cider industry is so very special.”

The Parliamentary Cider Group Reception was an opportunity to showcase the best of British cider, which is home to the largest cider market in the world. The evening was attended by cider makers from across the South West, Midlands and further afield, as well as many MPs that represent cider making regions within their constituencies.

The NACM is the UK cider industry representative body, working on behalf of large and small producers:

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Sandford Orchards Devon Red Relish

Sandford Orchards Devon Red Relish

Thanks to the Fuss Free Foodie for her latest creation with Sandford Orchards!

Sandford Orchards Devon Red Relish

Makes 3 to 4 small Kilner jars

  • 80g raisins/sultanas
  • 80ml malt vinegar
  • 400ml Sandford Orchards Devon Red cider
  • 400g banana shallots (6), finely chopped
  • 375g eating apples (3), peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 120g dark muscovado sugar
  • ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ heaped tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 4-5 rasps of nutmeg
  1. Place all the ingredients in a large pan. Bring to the boil and keep on a medium to high heat for the first 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and keep it bubbling away so that it starts to reduce. Keep stirring the relish every 5 minutes.
  3. The relish is ready when it goes darker in colour and the liquid evaporates. This should take about 45 -55 minutes. Allow the relish to cool. Serve in a pretty bowl or jar on a cheese board along with your favourite crackers.

Fuss Free tips!

  • If the relish needs to reduce to a darker colour and there is no liquid left add a splash of hot water. If you wanted to make enough for just one event you could halve the recipe and it will cook in 30 minutes.
  • If you wanted to store the relish for a longer period, follow your usual preserving methods or sterilize some jars by placing glass jars in an oven for 15 minutes at 150˚C/300˚F/Gas Mark 2 and boiling the lids in water. Place the relish in the jars whilst they are hot and place wax paper over the top.

Click here to watch on youtube. Alternatively, click here to have a look at other recipes by The Fuss Free Foodie involving ciders from our members!