Thames Reach
Sunday 19 November 2017
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White Cider and Street Drinkers

A photo of a super-strength White Ace cider bottle.
Cheap, super-strength white ciders such as White Ace are having a devastating impact on the health of homeless people across England.

A new report on super-strength white ciders reveals the devastating impact these cheap and very strong alcoholic drinks are having on the health of homeless people across England.

It reveals how the drinks industry is using cheap culinary apple concentrate, often imported from abroad to make white ciders, whilst benefiting from the tax breaks and low duty intended to boost the development of traditional cider apple orchards. This allows the drinks industry to produce a potent 7.5% drink which is cheaper than bottled water or lemonade yet still extremely profitable.

The report, commissioned by Alcohol Concern, and written and researched by Tony Goodall, is backed by St Mungo’s and Thames Reach, two of the countries largest homelessness organisations.

‘White Ciders and Street Drinkers’ urges the drinks industry to recognise the damage caused by super-strength white ciders and to act responsibly and stop manufacturing it, alongside a series of recommendations for the Government:

  • To considerably increase tax on ciders above 5% in a bid to get manufacturers to decrease the alcohol levels in white ciders.
  • To link cider duty rates to beer duty rates, especially super-strength lagers, and to look at minimum pricing.
  • For the Licensing Act 2003 to be amended to allow local authorities to ban the sale of super-strength drinks across their locality.
  • An end to the practice of selling cider above 5% in two and three litre bottles and one litre cap to be introduced.

It also contains a series of interviews with street drinkers to establish the heath problems homeless white cider drinkers are struggling with. These include damage to liver, heart and stomach, double incontinence, fits, mental health problems, depression, blackouts and memory loss.

Download the report