Cider change could stop decline in orchards - Bromyard cider maker

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Susanna and James ForbesImage source, Little Pomona/Gerry Matthews
Image caption,
Susanna and James Forbes said requiring more fruit juice in cider would increase demand for orchards

Raising the minimum level of fruit juice in cider would help stop a decline in orchards in England, the owners of a cider maker said.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has urged the government to increase the figure as it reviews alcohol duty.

Susanna and James Forbes, who run Little Pomona in Bromyard, Herefordshire, said the change would increase demand for apples and pears.

"If you have got amazing fruit, let us make the most of it," Mrs Forbes said.

"High juice content is the best and the only way. You would not ask a wine maker to dilute their wine so why do that with cider?"

Under the current system, to be taxed and sold as cider, the Treasury requires it to include a minimum of 35% of apple or pear juice.

But Camra said raising it to 50% would improve cider's reputation and increase demand for orchards which are "currently being wound down".

Mrs Forbes said if cider makers were told to put more fruit into their products, they would have to work with more orchardists to get more apples and pears.

"We can stop some of the decline of orchards and it is so important round here, we do not want to lose those special varieties," she said.

The government announced plans to change alcohol duty in October which it said would simplify the system.

A consultation ended in January and the Treasury said it aimed to publish draft legislation on the changes this summer.

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