Products with a lower juice content will fall into the “made wine” definition used by Revenue & Customs, and attract higher duty.
The changes, which also affect perry, have been made in an attempt to crank up the pressure on cheap, strong ciders associated with problem drinking, without penalising producers of higher-quality products.
Henry Chevallier Guild, chairman of the National Association of Cider Makers, said: “The NACM welcomes the government’s continued willingness to work with us to make positive changes and to understand the unique nature of our industry – like the hugely beneficial contribution made by planting new orchards even though this is an investment measured in decades.
“Their clear determination to consider in detail the duty and definition of cider is to be applauded in the context of the great volume of background noise on alcohol in general and cider in particular.
“It is vital if we are to balance the development of sensible legislation and the need to address alcohol misuse then retailers, producers and all other agencies must not muddle the issues – whether that is because of a limited understanding of the facts or as an intentional consequence of placing a narrow interest ahead of the available evidence."