Code of Practice

The NACM Code provides cider makers with a clear summary of the technical and legislative requirements for making cider. An outline of the full Code is given below:

Cider is defined as a beverage obtained by the partial or complete fermentation of: 

- the juice of apples (and pears, if desired, provided that no more than 25% of the mixed juice is pear);  the juice may be derived from fresh juice or from concentrated juice or from a mixture of both.

- with or without the addition before or after fermentation of sugars and/or of potable water

- without at any time adding alcoholic liquor

- without at any time adding any substance which gives colour or flavour, other than certain specifically permitted ingredients

The alcohol content must be greater than 1.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) but less than 8.5% ABV. NACM considers cider at 8.5% ABV or more to be Apple Wine. In the case of perry, NACM requires that no more than 25% of the juice may be from apples.

The key features of this definition are found in UK law in the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979, as amended, and are operated by HM Revenue and Customs (formerly HM Customs & Excise) to rule on the application of UK cider and perry duty.  For more information see HM Revenue and Customs Notice 162, ‘Cider and wine production’.

The NACM Code also covers: 

  • definitions for vintage, still, slightly sparkling, sparkling, low alcohol, cask conditioned, and traditional cider
  • analytical characteristics of cider
  • authorised processing practices
  • requirements for low alcohol products
  • labelling and other relevant UK regulations
  • NACM’s means of monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Code


The Technical Addendum to the Code is a comprehensive listing of all the legislation that impinges on cider.  The range of topics covered is wide and ranges from possible contaminants to environmental and weights and measures legislation.

To ensure effective self-regulation in the marketing of cider and perry, the NACM is a signatory to the independently operated Portman Group Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. It is a condition of NACM membership that the Portman Group Code’s requirements must be followed in full.

To assist in this, the NACM has prepared Guidelines on Commercial Communication. The NACM acknowledges that the Portman Group Code and all other codes operated by the recognised bodies in this area of marketing and advertising take precedence over the Guidelines which seek only to offer a reasonable interpretation of the wide-ranging demands of the Codes themselves.

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