The future of cider and the industry’s approach to its craft were the lead subjects at the NACM annual winter reception at Westminster on Monday 6 February.
She said: “We are often one of the largest employers in our communities and, as a result, we have always recognised the need for community support, local investment, sponsorship of rural training and employment.
“When we think of our own future, we also consider the future needs of those around us.”
Supporting consumer education
However, the NACM chair also urged cider makers to consider more than their local communities and to behave responsibly when developing and marketing their brands.
She added: “We have always prided ourselves on how quickly we are able to support consumer education with clearer messages on our labels, better information on our websites and support for Drinkaware and the Portman Group.
“Better education has resulted in reports of excellent improvements in responsible drinking.”
Thomas backed her statement with statistics on alcohol consumption in the past 10 years.
She said: “In the past decade, total consumption in the UK has fallen by 18% and the number of adults drinking within recommended guidelines has risen to 76%.”
Celebrating the cider industry
Thomas added: “[Compared to 10 years ago] there are 38% less under-16s have tried alcohol and alcohol-related crime is at an all-time low.”
Thomas concluded by summarising the event’s festivities. She said: “This reception is about celebrating the great British cider industry and what we bring to the UK economy especially our rural communities.
“It is about celebrating an industry that has been here for centuries and we hope will be here for centuries to come.
“It is a celebration of the diversity of British cider and the passion and enthusiasm of the British cider maker.”