The cross party Rural Development Sub-Committee in the National Assembly has recommended that Wales should promote its wine, cider and beer industries to mirror the success of countries like New Zealand. This recognition of the economic potential of the home-grown drinks industry is to be welcomed. Anyone who has attended (and if you haven't then I strongly recommend that you consider it!) the Abergavenny Food Festival which is being held between the 17th and the 19th of September this year, will recognise the diversity and number of small scale cider, beer and wine producers from within the old county of Gwent and elsewhere in Wales and beyond.
The timely reports wants support for research into barley and hop cultivation and a reform of "beer ties", which force landlords to buy from pub owners and says that newcomers to the growing industry newcomers should have government guidance and advice – which has been welcomed by brewers and consumers' groups. The report goes on to offer the growth and development of the New Zealand's wine industry as a good example for producers in Wales to learn from.
Its not just about production though, there is more to it that that, the report has stated that the Welsh Assembly Government should work with Welsh brewers to help design and develop a marketing campaign which can help further promote Wales as a country of small breweries producing quality beer. There is also recognition of the need for government guidance to help our farmers make the most of potential opportunities to diversify into growing crops which can be used for brewing or apples for cider making.