Westons Cider managing director Helen Thomas has been elected Chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), the governing body of the UK’s cider and perry industry.
The two-year tenure will see Thomas represent the interests of large and medium-sized cider makers alongside more than 240 smaller cider makers, including lobbying the government for duty relief.
It is the second time Thomas has held the role, after previously being appointed chair in 2007.
'The cider industry has changed and developed dramatically since I was last chair in 2007,' said Thomas. 'I am really looking forward to continuing to support the industry, championing growth and tackling the issues that the cider industry faces today.
'In 2009 the duty escalator was introduced, which created a very challenging trading environment for cider producers. Excise duty has now increased by more than 16% and we therefore need support from the Government to turn this situation around,' she concluded.
Fenella Tyler, chief executive for the NACM, said: 'Helen brings with her a vast amount of experience of living and working within the cider industry and her family has a great tradition of cider making. This makes Helen extremely well-equipped to deal with the challenges we are facing to help us bring long-term growth to the category.'