Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Heineken, and Alexis Nasard, President of Western Europe & Chief Marketing Officer have spent November 6 visiting the company’s cider business HP Bulmer in Herefordshire. The company used the visit to call upon the Chancellor to halt the automatic, above inflation, increase in cider duty each year.
The visit reinforces the company’s commitment, both to the cider category and to the rural economy of the region. Herefordshire is at the centre of Heineken’s global cider business which has seen recent international developments with the introduction of the Strongbow brand in markets such as Hungary and the USA.
During the visit to local orchards, cider mill and production facilities, Jean-François and Alexis met with the HP Bulmer orcharding team and heard first-hand how important the good summer had been to this year’s excellent apple harvest. HP Bulmer uses apples from 10,000 acres of orchards in the region and about 30% of all apples grown in the UK. Over the next month, apples will be harvested and milled to provide the finest quality fruit for market leading brands such as Strongbow and Bulmers.
Commenting on his visit, Mr. van Boxmeer said: “I am delighted that we have been able to show support for such an important part of our business. What you see here is the story of apples from orchard to glass, with the positive economic impact of HP Bulmer extending beyond the company’s own operations. We supplement our own fruit with locally sourced apples, and our 30 year contracts enable farming families to plant and invest for a sustainable future. The world’s thirst for cider can only get bigger and Heineken & Herefordshire will be at the centre of that growth.”
Mr Nasard added “Heineken is famous for its beers, but we are also proud to be the world’s leading cider business. We have had great success in meeting the growing demand for new and different cider styles and flavours, and we will continue to innovate and grow new brands for the future. “
“This gives us a fantastic base from which we can further develop international markets and, in turn, bring new ideas and international influences back to Herefordshire. I’m pleased to report that we are well placed in our ambition to have Heineken ciders enjoyed all over the world.”
David Forde, UK Managing Director of Heineken hosted the visit, and took the opportunity to underline how important cider production and orcharding is to the local Herefordshire economy.
He said:“The visit is a massive vote of confidence for our cider business and for the region. The Government has long recognised the importance of the cider industry to the rural economy and we would ask the Chancellor to end the cider duty escalator, which is increased automatically by 2% above inflation each year. Since the escalator started in 2008, cider duty has increased by 49.8% and this is having a significant impact on the long-term sustainability of the cider sector. Ending the cider duty escalator will encourage us to invest further, innovate, sell more great ciders and safeguard rural jobs.”