Monday, 18 April 2011

Then they came for the white cider drinkers

A report commissioned by Alcohol Concern has called for the withdrawal of superstrength white cider from the market “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?


  1. Why don't we all go out and buy a bottle of cider each, then we can enjoy a drink to our last moments of freedom before beating each other to death with the empty bottles.

    This will then eradicate all humans from the bloody planet who foolishly enjoy alcohol!

  2. I think the higher tax on cider only applies if they're over 7.5%, so all the white ciders dropped to that strength.

  3. What evidence is there that white cider is less healthier than real ale - an interesting debate is about to emerge:

  4. @Ed - no, the 35% minimum juice content requirement is a new measure brought in last year. AIUI white ciders are basically fermented corn syrup with a bit of apple flavour and so wouldn't qualify. See here

  5. Crikey! They're talking about bans on alcoholic products before tobacco ones. I didn't see that one coming.

    I do believe it is less than 6% ABV nowadays, that brings pong into the crosshair, does it not?

    Excuse me while I go somewhere quiet and wet myself laughing. You know, to be polite.


  6. I think the likes of Frosty Jack's are still 7.5%, but there again it's not a section of the drinks aisle I study closely.

    Of course it's a classic salami-slicing technique - white cider is foul cheap piss drunk by tramps, so who will be bothered about losing it? And then you suddenly wake up and find any beer over 4.5% is taxed to death.

  7. It's the only way failing debt denying governments in the west have to service their client states.
    Dream up more taxes.

  8. I see Don Shenker putting in his two penn'orth, the one who said Britain's alcohol duty was too low, even though we pay 40% of the total EU beer tax.

  9. As I said on another blog.

    So when are they going after QC ruby wine, Emva cream and the old favourite Buckfast tonic wine then?

    I don't suppose these dumb fucks down at Alcohol concern have have studied the implications of the withdrawal of cheap sources of alcohol have they?

    When the source of cheap state vodka ended in Russia, the winos took to drinking tainted industrial alcohol which turned them bright yellow and died painfully over a period of about 10 days due to their internal organs dissolving.

    Then again perhaps they have....

    I might add that wrt the Russians, that there were more casualties from them drinking the anti-freeze and brake fluid (of all things??) out their trucks than were from the Taliban.

  10. I would imagine the homeless, much like many of us, drink alcohol as a form of escapism from the problems they face. I imagine the Government sees measures such as this as a way to stop this and 'help' them meet their problems head on and do something about it.

    I imagine they'll maintain this strategy when it comes to the rest of us, arrogantly ignoring the fact that the problems we face are largely caused by them and their predecessors!

    I read somewhere the other week that MPs were concerned that they would not receive the credit they deserve for the hard work they have put in to health legislation. I for one hope they all receive everything they deserve!


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