Cider industry leaders have met Treasury minister Justine Greening to plead for government restraint on duty in the Budget.
They shared details of the increase in retail pricing brought about by the combined effects of increased duty, the VAT rise and the new definition for cider.
The combination of the duty definition and VAT added 13% to the retail price of the cheapest ciders from late 2010 to the end of January, according to the National Association of Cidermakers.
The organisation's chair, Henry Chevallier, said: “We believe we got a fair hearing, and given our relative scale, government does understand the unique nature of our industry and the positive role it plays in rural locations.
“However, there are some clear economic and political imperatives that will impact what we might expect in terms of duty next month – not least the fact that the Treasury is looking to maximise revenue, even if that might create problems for industries like our own.
“We made the point that the investment decisions we make are measured in decades when you consider the planting of new orchards.
“Also the utilisation of major capital equipment has a very different profile in our industry compared to many others. Hence, a stable duty regime is vital to protect the progress we have made in the last decade – progress that has dramatically grown the contribution cider has made to government revenues.”