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UK's HMRC drafts new spirit production guidelines

DBR Staff Writer Published 10 August 2016

The UK Government’s HM Revenue & Customs department (HMRC) has drafted new spirit production guidelines, to help improve business licensing.

Once the HMRC review is done, the process of becoming licensed producers is expected to be much easier for distillers, rectifiers and compounders, in particular for the UK distillers.

The new distilling guidance which is in the draft mode is likely to club HMRC policies for the licensing and approval of all types of spirits production.

Unlike in the earlier guidance, gin and other spirits are going to be covered as well along with the traditional distillation.

The HMRC is also set to make the license application easier to understand. It is also planning to bring in more clarity of the terms included and the overall process.

All the requirements for becoming a licensed producer will be spelled out in the latest distilling guidance. Also some of the required documents are going to be easier than before.

The last month-formed British Distillers Alliance (BDA) has welcomed the department’s flexibility for alcohol production.

BDA co-founder Alan Powell said: “The new guidance is set in draft in Notice 39: Spirits Production, which brings together HMRC’s stated policies and procedures for the licensing and approval of all types of spirits production.

“For the first time, a single HMRC public notice now covers the manufacture of gin and other spirits alongside “traditional” distilling of alcohol.  When finalized, it will give clear guidance and direction not only to the industry but also to HMRC staff having to deal with the licensing and control of spirits producers”.

With uncertainty looming over all industries post-Brexit, this new initiative from the UK Government comes as good news for smaller producers and microdistilleries.

The UK is seeing a significant growth in the drinks and spirits industry, especially in the ‘craft spirits’ segment.

Image: New distillery guidance from HMRC will make things easy for distillers in gettting licenses. Photo courtesy of alex_ugalek/Freedigitalphotos.net.