Bristol Blackthorn drinkers protest new Old Taste cider tax

01 April 2010


Drinkers of Blackthorn cider are reeling today, as the recently re-introduced ‘Old Taste’ became subject to a new additional tax increase.


Cider drinkers reacted angrily to Chancellor Alex Darling’s decision to apply a 10% increase on duty to ‘under-taxed’ cider in last Wednesday’s budget. A number of Facebook groups were formed in protest against the levy. One group, Leave Our Cider Alone, attracted more than 50,000 members within a few days of the announcement.


However Blackthorn drinkers are furious at today’s unexpected application of EU ruling 01.0410, which dictates that cider and perry above certain alcohol volumes must be considered ‘very strong’, and duty levied at 10% above the standard rate. This would place a duty of 20% plus inflation on a pint of Blackthorn, equal to a price rise of around 38 pence.


Gaymer Cider Company changed the strength of Blackthorn in March 2009, but drinkers reacted angrily to the new taste. Guide2Bristol was very active in the campaign to bring back the old taste of Blackthorn, and launched a petition. Gaymer bowed to consumer pressure this month and re-introduced ‘Old Taste’ Blackthorn, promoting it with a new advertising campaign.


Marketing spokesperson for Gaymer, Avril Foley said that the company was ‘disappointed by the news, especially when the great new old taste of Blackthorn is proving to be so popular. Again. We are very aware that the old new taste of Blackthorn would not have been subject to this unfair tax. ’


Ms Foley would not confirm rumours that the company are considering introducing a new ‘new taste’ of Blackthorn that would avoid the additional duty.


Currently cider and perry contributes around £370m annually, or more than £1m a day, in excise duty and VAT to the UK Exchequer.

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