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Cider Australia looks to future of cider taxation

Goal is to build a sustainable cider category

Media release

 

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 in mid May.

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 labelling 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’s position on cider taxation is that cider, as a fruit wine, should be taxed in the same manner as grape wine. This is the logical position for an industry that mirrors the wine industry from fruit growing, production and manufacturing through to sales and distribution. Cider Australia’s position on taxation of cider is in line with that of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia with respect to wine.

Cider Australia, along with the Winemakers’ Federation, supports retention of the current Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) and producer rebate scheme, and ongoing reform to improve the operation of the rebate scheme to support regional communities and maintain the original intent of the scheme. This includes removing the rebate from bulk and unbranded sales and offering the rebate only to producers in Australia. In relation to ‘bulk’ sales,

Cider Australia notes it is common practice within the cider industry to sell branded cider in 30L and 50L kegs. In terms of efficiency and sustainability, packaging in glass bottles costs up to 3 times more than reusable kegs. On this basis, it is important that the definition of a bulk sale in this context be a container greater than 51L.

On taxation generally, Cider Australia supports:

CIDER FACTS

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