The supply issue highlighted by Stella Cidre is a useful reminder of one of the major challenges faced by UK cider makers and reflects a point of difference between brewers and cider makers something that is a contributory factor in the reason for different duty regimes for beer and cider (‘Stella Cidre running out of apples as sales soar’, 25 June).
Securing the right quality and volume of fruit is something all cider makers have to manage.
With the variation in yield from year to year and new orchards taking several years to become established, it is not simple. In the dynamic market of the last decade, accurately forecasting consumer demand has also been an issue. While all producers monitor the supply of raw ingredients, this is particularly key in cider where typically the supply arrangements that cider makers reach with growers are for 30 years or more. Most producers will have worked with growers for much longer.
Coupled with the use of vital capital equipment over just 12 weeks of the year, it is clear that as an industry we have an investment cycle measured in decades and very different profile in terms of the utilisation of capital than is the case in any other industry.
However, the continuing growth of cider, especially premium cider, suggests the UK industry is meeting the difficult challenges it faces with some success.
Gabe Cook, NACM spokesman