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The rug pulled out from beneath our feet?

It looks as though small scale cider producers such as myself are about to well and truly have the rug pulled out from beneath their feet. Well at least that's what will happen if the EU gets its way. Yet more sh*t from Brussels for us to swallow.
Here's part of a communication that I received from The Welsh Perry and Cider Society on the second of March. It doesn't look good.

'EU to take action against UK 70HL Cider duty exemption

NACM have issued a formal note from the European Commission regarding the action it is proposing to take against the UKs 70HL cider duty exemption:

Taxation: Commission requests the UNITED KINDGOM to amend its excise duty legislation granting exemption for cider and perry made by small producers
The European Commission has today formally requested the United Kingdom to amend its excise duty scheme that exempts from duty cider and perry made by small domestic producers. This exemption concerns producers, whose production does not exceed 70 hectolitres over a period of 12 consecutive months and who make such products for sale.
EU excise duty rules oblige Member States to levy an excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages. There are no provisions which would provide for an exception to the general obligation to levy excise duty in respect of cider and perry made for sale by small domestic producers. The UK excise duty scheme therefore contravenes EU legislation, which was unanimously agreed and which does not allow for such exemption in any of the Member States.
The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

NACM representatives are meeting HM Treasury officials on 3 March to discuss the situation and see what options there are to provide a similar type of break. They will provide a briefing for us as an affiliate member associations on the outcome of the meeting and on how the Treasury wish to proceed.

We are sending an official statement to the NACM today to express our concerns and reinforce the WPCS position in representing the interest of its members. The WPCS strongly urges the UK government to consider the impact that this will have on the small scale cider industry. In the instance that duty payments are introduced for small producers, then a significant small producer relief rate should be considered.'

I'll have to see what exactly charging excise duty on my cider sales entails and just how much extra it would mean I'd have to charge my customers for my product. It maybe, that like many other small scale producers, I'll have to weigh up whether or not its worth continuing to make cider commercially.
I'll still have my apple juice making of course but that doesn't help much, when the vast majority of the apples I've planted over the last eight years have been cider varieties.
We wont get much if any help from the big boys, who make millions of litres in fighting this and quietly, I reckon they wouldn't be too sad to see the craft cider makers ride off into the sunset.
Its upsetting, when I've been planning my set up for years and then to have the plug pulled like this by some mindless, faceless bureaucrat !


I've just read this article:

Seems like the golden years have gone...blummin Brussels!

It is a shame how the smaller artisan producers have been given a leg up and encouraged over the years and now possible cant afford to compete.

It'll only lead to the big brands, producing dull ciders who can afford to cover these costs.

It's about time we started to just ignore them like the rest of Europe does

Surely it's about semantics.

It has to be taxed, that's fair enough.

That doesn't mean that it has to be at a uniform rate. The rate could be zero. Or a token amount.

Or, I should say, I assume it could; VAT certainly works that way.


Ive spoken to my MP about this.
This would either put me out of business or force me to sello on the black market.
Ive invested a lot in what I do, and have taken on a lad locally to assist.

I was at EXPOWEST yesterday talking to a few other Cornish Cider producers.
All is not what it seems, and this came up before and they told them basically to damn off.

What my MP's actions will be will decide if he gets my vote basically.

Just so I'm clear - is the tax relative to the amount produced (under the new threshold) or is it the same tax fee for all?

Nothing has changed as yet.  The EU are trying to close off the exemption that small UK cider makers enjoy if they SELL less than 7000L per annum.
This will bring them into line with other EU producers.

Although many EU countries ignore the EU law on this anyway.

have a look at this FB page to see what other real cider producers are saying about it all....

As it stands today, its not worth just creeping over the fresh hold for excise duty. If you're going to go over the 7000, then you need to go at least three or four times over it. So if the change does come in, lots of small cider makers will stop trading.

I agree.  This will put a lot of small producers out of business.

Do micro beer breweries and small scale wine makers have the same 70HL exemption that the Cider and Perry producers have?

No Gareth, they don't. It was a measure that Gordon brown brought in to encourage small scale cider and perry makers.

and it also encourages smaller producers to retain small orchards, biodiversity, rare and local apple varieties etc.
There was an interview with Mark Venton from Ventons Cider on radio Devon this morning....but treated with a bit of hilarity by the reporter.  This would be a serious blow for small scale producers - kit is expensive, margins are slim, and the hours are long and hard to produce a locally liked artisan product. Its a sad day if we are only going to be left with the likes of Magners & Strongbow.

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