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18-04-2011, 18:14
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A report commissioned by Alcohol Concern has called for the withdrawal of superstrength white cider from the market (http://www.offlicencenews.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/12155/Report_calls_for_removal_of_white_ciders.html) “because of the harm it causes to homeless people and other vulnerable groups”. Not exactly a surprise conclusion there, then.

Now, you may well think white cider is a load of crap, and it may well be true that it is disproportionately consumed by problem drinkers. But it would be setting a worrying precedent for government to seek to dictate the types of alcoholic drinks that can be legally sold and indeed to exclude a whole category from the market. Is it really going to stop there? Some of the recommendations, in particular that duty should be increased for all ciders over 5%, also have much wider implications.

If the homeless are deprived of white cider, they’re just going to turn to something else instead – they’re not going to miraculously give up drink overnight.

And hasn’t the tax on white cider been increased recently anyway because it would typically have a juice content well below 35% and thus would be taxed as “made-wine” rather than enjoying the lower cider duty rate?

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