In his inaugural speech as NACM chair at the All-Party-Parliamentary Cider reception in Westminster on Tuesday 5 September, Sheppy called for a freeze in excise duty until at least 2025.
He said: “The last few years have been tough for cider makers. The market has been struggling and at times it has really felt as though the Government has lost focus on the valuable contribution the traditions of cider making bring to our rural economies.
“The list is endless and personally I have been very frustrated and concerned that the finest, traditional ciders and family businesses are being negatively impacted”.
Sheppy explained the industry had seen a 10.1% increase in excise duty, duty reforms that have “penalised traditional ciders”.
On top of this, “increasing levels” of “rushed through” red tape and complicated systems have also caused problems for cider makers and farmers, the sixth generation cidermaker added.
During the speech, Sheppy highlighted concerns from cidermakers that another excise duty related was due and called on MPs to support the industry, stating it supports more than 11,000 jobs, 16,000 acres of orchards, is worth £2.95bn and attracts more than 1m tourists every year to rural economies.
However, the NACM chair also acknowledged there had been some “great leaps” in technology within the sector in recent years while still maintaining traditions to the heritage of cider making, adding with the right support the industry could be “optimistic” for the future.
Sheppy added: “In the past those responsible for excise duty made a point of coming to see us and learn more about the cider category.
“We appreciate the last few years have made that more difficult, but all of us would like to see a return to that level of interest in cider making.”