Cider Australia will contribute to the alcohol taxation debate to ensure local cider makers are not unfairly crushed by `fake’ alcopop-style ciders.
The national industry body representing more than 60 cider producers and suppliers held its Annual General Meeting in Batlow, NSW last week.
Sam Reid, co-owner of Tasmanian organic apple cider Willie Smith’s, was returned as president of Cider Australia to lead an executive team covering all major cider producing regions of Australia.
“Cider Australia’s goal is to build a sustainable cider category, and this will only happen if cider is taxed fairly and if consumers appreciate and are exposed to a diverse and sophisticated range of ciders”, said Mr Reid.
“Local producers will not survive if alcohol tax reform is blind to the wide ranging benefits of cider production for growers, regional economies and tourism”.
“In this respect, all alcohol is not equivalent as the advocates of cheap, mass-produced RTDs might have you believe”, Mr Reid said.
Cider Australia believes that as a fruit wine and with similar benefits and production constraints as the grape wine sector, cider must be taxed in the same way as wine and at a differential rate to other forms of alcohol.
“The big risk is if reforms make it unviable to produce cider in Australia using local ingredients, local labour and specialised knowledge – this is what gives us the quality ciders that consumers want and are willing to pay for”, said Mr Reid.
Cider Australia also committed to raise the bar on cider labeling in Australia, with plans to later this year seek improvements to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code so consumers can identify what is in a cider.
Cider Australia 2015 Executive Committee
President – Sam Reid, Willie Smith’s Organic Cider (TAS)
Vice Presidents – Warwick Billings, LOBO Cider (SA) and Shane McLaughlin, Hillbilly Cider (NSW)
Secretary – Nyall Condon, Flying Brick Cider Co (VIC)
Treasurer – Karina Dambergs, Red Brick Road Cider (TAS)
Category Development – Ian Rayner, Custard & Co (WA)
Digital & Website – Mark Ellis (VIC)