The newly elected chair of National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) has called for a freeze in excise duty until at least 2025.

David Sheppy, a sixth generation cider, said the last few years have been "tough for cider makers" and the industry has struggled in his inaugural speech at the All-Party-Parliamentary Cider reception in Westminster On Tuesday, September 5.

More than 120 cider makers, MPs and those connected all gathered in London for the event, with Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, chair of the APPCG, opening the event to remind those present of the importance of cider making across many rural communities.

“The last few years have been tough for cider makers," he said. The market has been struggling and at times it has really felt as though the government has lost focus on the valuable contribution that the traditions of cider making bring to our rural economies.

"A 10.1 per cent increase in excise duty; duty reforms that penalise our most traditional ciders; complicated systems that have been rushed through; increasing levels of red tape for both cider makers and farmers. The list is endless and personally I have been very frustrated and concerned that the finest, traditional ciders and family businesses are being negatively impacted”.

David has called on MPs to back and support the cider industry, which attracts more than one million tourists each year,

It currently offers and supports 11,000 jobs, 16,000 acres of orchards and is worth £2.95 billion and plays an important role across rural economies in Herefordshire, across South West and beyond.

“In the past those responsible for excise duty made a point of coming to see us and learn more about the cider category," he added.

“We appreciate that the last few years have made that more difficult, but all of us here tonight would like to see us to return to that level of interest in cider making.”

David also acknowledged how far the industry has come and kept with the traditions important to the heritage of cider making.

In closing David said, with the right support, the cider industry can be optimistic for the future and ciders will be made by generations to come.