Guest Blog By Neville Grundy, Southport & West Lancs Camra
Southport and West Lancs Branch of CAMRA has announced its two Cider Pubs of the Year. Real cider and perry (similar to cider but made from pears) used to be very rare here in the North West, but nowadays they are increasingly stocked by our pubs and bars, very often served by hand pump.
The North Sefton Cider Pub of the Year is the Grasshopper on Sandon Road in Hillside.
As well as stocking a good choice of real ales, this micropub has always offered a good choice of ciders and perries.
The West Lancs Cider Pub of the Year is the Thirsty Duck in Burscough which is located at Burscough Wharf along the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. At the time of writing, they were offering seven ciders and one perry as well as five real ales.
Congratulations to both winners.
Nationally, CAMRA has joined forces with makers of real cider and perry from across the UK to call for tax reforms that will support high-quality cider by creating an open letter urging the Treasury to increase the Minimum Juice Content of cider – the amount of fresh juice a drink needs to contain to be classed as cider – in order to support makers of high-quality ciders and perries.
Current tax rules only require cider to contain 35% juice, meaning drinks topped up with more water or concentrates than freshly pressed juice can be counted as cider for tax purposes, a situation which the Campaign thinks is misleading to consumers. As strong support grows across the real cider industry, more producers are being encouraged to sign, with the letter due to be delivered at the end of May.
CAMRA’s Real Ale, Cider and Perry Campaigns Director Gillian Hough added: “CAMRA are campaigning for a lasting change to give consumers confidence that when they buy a product marketed as cider it contains at least 50% fresh pressed juice. We welcome the Government’s decision to expand cider’s ‘farmgate exemption’ into a small producers scheme and are asking that they step forward to support the makers of high quality, high juice ciders and perries by increasing the minimum juice content for duty purposes.”