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Budget’s Alcohol Duty Reform announcements welcomed by Warwickshire cidery owners

Napton Cidery, Budget

THE owners of an award-winning family-run cidery in Warwickshire have welcomed the Budget’s Alcohol Duty reform which they claim will bolster the growth of their business post-pandemic.

Jolyon Olivier, who runs Napton Cidery, say the Chancellor’s new measures around duty bands for alcohol will save their business tens of thousands of pounds a year.

The changes, which The Campaign For Real Ale have hailed as game-changing for the industry, will see a potential 50% cut in duty on draught and fruit ciders from 2022. In a further boost, the cancellation of last week’s planned increase in spirits duty was also announced as well as a one-year temporary rate relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties.

Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier,Napton Cidery
Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier at Napton Cidery.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s radical simplification of the duty system reduces the main rates as well as taxing products in proportion to their alcohol content. He said in his Budget speech on Wednesday it was ’the biggest cut to cider duty since 1923 and the biggest cut to fruit ciders in a generation.’

He added: “Our alcohol duty reforms make the system simpler, fairer, and healthier. They help with the cost of living while tackling problem drinking, they support innovative entrepreneurs and craft producers, they back pubs and public health.”

Jolyon Olivier, who established his cidery in Napton-on-the-Hill six years ago with wife Charlotte, said they were determined to pass on the cost savings to their customers.

“This is great news after a challenging couple of years in the hospitality industry. We are looking at a potential 50% reduction in all cider duty currently. This alone could save us over £30k per year,” he said.

“The reduction in fruit cider duty which is currently 92p per litre, is hugely positive ahead of the launch of our No5 recipe next May as the cost will have massively reduced which we can then pass onto our local customers.

“On another note our Whiskey cask cider is currently classed as £2.97 per litre which I’m hoping will also be reduced. It would also enable us to release some more sparkling charmat style cider in cork and muzzle too without paying a similar duty rate.”

Jolyon Olivier, Napton Cidery
Jolyon in the orchard.

He added: “I personally feel this next year will see cider really grow with popularity. Reducing the cost of duty will certainly help smaller cider makers bridge the gap. The current system is 7,000 litres Duty free to 100% duty for every litre, which isn’t a great incentive to produce enough cider to make a profit.”

The business started life as a hobby ten years ago when the couple were first introduced to the taste of craft cider on a family holiday to Cornwall. Returning home to with an apple tree, they soon started experimenting in their back garden.

Today, the team harvests, presses, bottles and distributes more than 90,000 litres of craft cider a year, using 17 types of apples from six orchards across the Herefordshire region. As well as their signature ciders, they produce perry, juices, spirits and vinegars as well as new products the team have been working on this year – including Apple Cider Brandy, canned ciders and merchandise like branded collectors’ glasses.

Napton Cidery

Central to Napton’s growing popularity among customers is its strong sustainability ethos, from harvesting through to packaging. All of its apples come from traditional unsprayed orchards, organic and biodiverse growers, so no unnatural chemicals are introduced into the ecosystem. The cider is also naturally fermented using only wild yeasts and packaged in recyclable materials and all ingredients sourced as locally as possible.

The Taproom offers cider tasting tours and workshops as well as hosting live events including stand-up comedy, quizzes and live music nights.

Being forced to adapt their business for Covid-19, the couple raised more than £170k through a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign in April which has enabled them to not only survive, but thrive. And now they have their sights set on the international markets.

The Cidery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12-5pm.

Further information and the shop is available here