It is crazy we should have to fight so hard for fair play – this morning I have had to go through the same routine yet again.

The arrival of Gaymer’s new premium cider brands will help lift this recovering market. A new tasting experience has been long overdue. Further investment behind Blackthorn and a possible national launch for Magners Original should put the category back on a firm footing.

We approach the Budget on March 22 with a degree of caution. Gone are the days of speculative purchases and stock appreciation. Any increase in duty imposed on tobacco goods will be a further boost to smugglers and counterfeiters although Gordon’s soft spot for the whisky distillers may spare spirits for another year. The boom in wine consumption makes it a likely target for a duty hike. It is an open invitation for the Chancellor to claw back lost revenue from a declining on-trade and sales of take home beer and alcoholic RTDs.

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