By Andy Young

Cider Australia, the national industry body representing more than 60 cider producers and suppliers, has joined the alcohol taxation debate, saying cider should be taxed in the same manner as wine.

The body's position is that cider is a fruit wine and that the industry mirrors that of grape wine from fruit growing, production and manufacturing through to sales and distribution.

Sam Reid, co-owner of Tasmanian organic apple cider Willie Smith's and president of Cider Australia, said: "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.

"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 a statement Cider Australia said that its position on the taxation of cider is in line with that of the Winemakers' Federation of Australia with respect to wine.

Cider Australia also committed to "raising 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.

The Cider Australia statement added: "Australia's inadequate labelling laws prevent cider producers from being able to differentiate their product and compete with low quality ciders or apple/pear flavoured RTDs on a level playing field. 

"A single alcohol tax system would not necessarily allow local producers to all compete on the same level."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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