Cider House Rules
by in Consumer
Wed April 14, 8:27 p.m. BST
Magners and Strongbow, two of the biggest cider brands in Britain, are beginning to show a recovery from the dive in ‘buzz’ scores triggered by Chancellor Alistair Darling’s budget report. ‘Buzz’ is calculated by asking whether respondents have heard anything good or bad about the brand, and subtracting the number of negative sentiments from positive.
On March 24th, Darling announced that his budget would include a ten percent tax duty hike on cider, on top of the usual inflation rises. This was a prospect that had the cider industry and its faithful drinkers down in the mouth, and the buzz scores of Magners and Strongbow correspondingly tumbled. Magners fell from 8.8 on March 23rd to 4.3 on April 6th, and Strongbow dropped from 4.1 on 22nd March to -2.9 on April 6th.
However, on April 7th, it was announced that the tax rise would be frozen until after the election takes place, but would be reinstated if Labour win a fourth consecutive term in office. Before a parliament is dissolved in the run up to an election, there is a ‘wash up’ period where non-essential legislative bills are sidelined in order to make time to deal with prioritised legislation. The cider tax hike was lucky enough to be considered one such ‘non-essential’, so the price will remain steady for now.
Sure enough, as news spread that cider will temporarily escape a tax rise, buzz scores have shown a promising turn northward. By April 12th Magners had returned to 6.4 and Strongbow had risen to -0.3.
However, fears in the cider industry will remain that should Labour pull off a shock victory next month, both cider drinkers and brewers will be hit hard by the reinstatement of the tax rise. Until then, cider drinkers across the country can happily sup their cider free from Darling’s painful tax hike. Hops? Nope, apples please - for the next month at least.