Statement by SWECA relative to Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP)
The South West of England Cider Makers’ Association (SWECA) issued a statement on 17th April, 2012 saying that the introduction of MUP might unfairly penalise cider makers and would not, in our view, address levels of alcohol misuse – though we recognise that misuse is a serious issue that does require positive action. Our position is unchanged.
Some comment and speculation recently suggests we are actively lobbying on this issue. This is not true. We are ready and willing to talk with any interested party about how this specific proposal or any policy suggestion might affect our members and the wider cider industry.
At this time we have not had discussions with any group or individual. When and if we do, we will listen to what people have to say as we are interested to understand the views on this topic. To date, in our view, the debate has been characterised by lots of heat, but little light – and that is not useful.
Eight years ago Ben Weller and Shane Green from Twisted Cider decided to run the London Marathon together. Why? Why does anyone run a Marathon? Nobody likes blisters on their feet, nobody likes aching joints, and exhaustion. Exhaustion so intense, physically you want to collapse, mentally you want to cry. Nobody that is, who has never gone the distance... Less than 1% of people will complete a Marathon in their lives, so why do it?
The answer to that question is to raise money for a charity because you or someone you know has suffered and you want to help or because you believe in the work the charity is doing and deep down by completing this task not only will you have achieved something magnificent you will have helped changed lives for those your chosen charity supports.
Twisted Cider is a small artisan cider producer in Longburton, Dorset and Cancer Research UK has been Twisted Ciders charity of choice for some years now with Ben Weller doing his second marathon and Shane Green running his third marathon in April. Their passion for Cancer Research UK came in 2006 when Shane Green was diagnosed with skin cancer which hit him and his friend Ben hard. At the age of 24 and from a little town it never seemed possible that skin cancer would affect Shane but thanks to Cancer Research UK’s dedication to carrying out pioneering work, developing new ways on how to find, treat and beat over two hundred types of Cancer, Shane was able to get a successful diagnosis when the disease was at its early stages. Undergoing surgery to have the cancer removed Shane is still with us here today and raising money to beat the disease.
Earlier last year four noble men, led by Ben and Shane, ran the Bath Half Marathon carrying a Cider Press with the aim to raise £1000 and raised £4000 for Cancer Research UK. The Cider Press was seen as a challenge within a challenge to help raise more money and it worked.
So 8 long years have passed and Ben and Shane have still not fulfilled their ambition. Until now! There\'s a new dawn on the horizon, a new challenge in the making, a new opportunity to combine the things they love. Making money for Cancer Research UK and washing it down with Cider. The 2013 London Marathon beckons them, and sadly with places in the event hard to come by only two press carriers have achieved entry to the most famous race in the world.
Making their challenge twice as hard they are doing it because they know that whatever life has to throw at you, inner strength will keep you going. No matter how many times you\'ve been chewed up and spat out you will keep on moving forward. No painkiller is more effective than the cheers of the crowd, the extra loud roar of your charity group, the sight of the finish line and the knowledge of having raised money for your charity. How\'d you like them apples, pain?!
Over the next 3 months both their target is to raise another £4000 for Cancer Research UK and they can only do this with your help. Not just by donating money but by spreading the word and getting your friends and family to follow and support us. And on April 21st 2013 we hope to hear your encouraging voices motivating us around the gruelling 26.2 miles.
Support the cause and sponsor us online; https://www.justgiving.com/twistedcider/ or text \'PRES69\' with your amount ‘£?’ to 70070.
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Lyne Down Cider and Perry of Much Marcle have decided to sell up and move on. The property extends to around 27 acres about a third of which is set to orchard.
They are also selling some equipment:
800L Steel fermenting vats £500 each
IBC containers £65 each
Ride on mower and trailer £3500
Antique twin screw press (open to offers)
Speidel scratter mill (open to offers)
Vigo impeller pump ( open to offers)
For more information please contact:
The fifth edition of the Portman Group Code of Practice for alcohol producers has been announced, setting the standard for responsible alcohol marketing and effective industry self-regulation.
The Portman Group committed to review the Code of Practice on the Responsible Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks in 2011 as part of the Government’s Responsibility Deal.
The review included a full public consultation, expert workshops and views from over one hundred stakeholders ranging from government bodies, NGOs and the public health community through to producers, marketing experts and industry representatives.
Among other things, Version 5 includes new producer responsibilities to ensure content on their social media channels, including user-generated content, doesn't contravene the Responsible Marketing code.
A digital version of the pamphlet can be downloaded here
Today SWECA's committee has made the following submission to the Government Consultation on Minimum Unit Pricing.
The South West of England Cider Makers’ Association (SWECA) is a trade organisation established in 1937 to represent the interests of commercial cider makers in the south west of England. There are currently about 60 members. Most of the members of SWECA are small- to medium-sized businesses run from farms.
SWECA is seriously concerned about the potential damage the Government’s proposed minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcoholic products will cause to traditional West Country cider makers, their customers and the rural economy in general.
We oppose the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol for the following reasons:
1) A minimum unit price penalises all drinkers and is particularly unfair to those on lower incomes, who are in the main not the problem drinkers.
2) There is no evidence that a minimum price for alcohol will reduce problem drinking.
3) Traditional cider makers and their customers are not part of the problem that the Government wishes to address with this policy and they would be unfairly penalised by the policy.
Cider is an important part of the rural economy in the South West, with makers investing in orchards with an expected life of 50 years or more, creating long-term sustainable employment. Cider contributes great value to the tourist and agricultural economies and is an important part of the cultural tradition and image of the South West.
Farmhouse cider in particular will be damaged by the proposed minimum unit price for alcohol as draught cider is historically sold at a relatively low price and a significant proportion at ‘the farmgate’. Part of the reason for the historically low price is that the raw materials (apples) are grown on site, there is no distribution cost and packaging is minimal or returnable – in short, the industry is at the forefront of sustainable food production and meeting the government’s green agenda. Much of this achievement could be lost by poorly considered legislation and a historic and significant part of the rural economy destroyed.
We urge the Government to carefully consider these issues before making any decision that may damage our industry.
Chairman of SWECA
31 January 2013
SWECA members and guests gathered at Rich’s Cider on March 14, courtesy of Jan, Martin, Brian and George Rich for what proved an informative day.
Bob Price, Director & Policy Advisor at the NACM, gave an enlightening talk on the current position of the proposed introduction of MUP, its reported demise in Cabinet and the possible future direction of the Government’s stated aim to tackle binge drinking and discounted alcohol sales.
Up next was Gilly Pollock who offered an introduction to the work and activities of the Orcharding Network of Excellence (ONE). Based in Herefordshire and formerly known as Herefordshire Orcharding Network of Excellence (HONE), the organisation is now extending its reach into the South West and has changed its name and activities accordingly. Gilly encouraged SWECA members to take this new opportunity to get involved either as a member (£75/yr) or simply by opting to receive free information updates. Anyone interested in participating and/or receiving the free email newsletters and updates should visit the ONE website at this link and register their contact details.
Robyn Dunwoodie of the Portman Group was due to give a presentation on the new edition of the Portman Group Code Of Practice but was unfortunately unable to attend due to illness. The venerable Bob Price once again stepped up to the plate, outlining the application of the code to product labelling.
After one of the best SWECA lunches anyone can remember in the Rich’s restaurant, Liz Copas and Neil Macdonald held a workshop on the pruning and care of standard cider apple trees.
Thanks again to all speakers for a very informative day, and a particularly big thank you to Jan and her team for the splendid hospitality.