Castle Rock Brewery in Nottingham applauds CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) for its work in promoting cider, its taxation regime, and as a drink to be enjoyed in pubs.
Colin Wilde, Castle Rock’s managing director, says: “We’ve supported real cider in our pubs for years, and it’s noticeable there’s been a recent surge in interest with CAMRA’s Cider and Perry Month allowing us an extra opportunity to push cider to a wider audience.”
During the promotion, Castle Rock’s intention was to sell over 100 different ciders and perries in their 20 strong estate. However, with help from the local Nottingham CAMRA branch and specialised cider suppliers, the target was passed. Wilde says: “We’ve gained a positive momentum by putting more effort into real cider and perry and we intend to carry on satisfying the demand that’s clearly there.”
However, Colin Wilde has expressed concerns about how cider makers and brewers are treated on duty rates. “The cider duty system has incentives that especially nurture local cider making,” he says. “For example, the first 7,000 gallons produced per year are duty free. This has encouraged many enthusiasts, with access to apples, a very low entry barrier to this booming market. This is fantastic for them, and we all benefit from a growing number of great cider makers in the East Midlands and across the country.”
Even though cider makers lose all duty benefit after 7,000 gallons are made, Wilde says: “It makes for a very expensive next gallon, but with the benefit of spreading overheads against higher production and a lower duty rate on cider, compared to beer, it still provides enough incentive to carry on pressing; as the global cider producers clearly are.
“We don’t want to be accused of crying into our pint,” Wilde says, “but there are big issues here. Relatively small regional brewers like Castle Rock are paying double the amount of duty on lower strength session beers than the multinational cider producers are paying on potentially very strong ciders. Beer and cider command similar wholesale and over-the-bar retail prices, so it is clearly not fair.
“The Beer Duty Escalator has widened this duty gap to an unsustainable level and, unfortunately, it’s the British pub that suffers. Thousands of pubs have gone over the last decade: beer duty must be cut before it’s too late,” insists Wilde.If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!