BDA welcomes HMRC’s flexibility for alcohol production

The British Distillers’ Alliance has replied to HMRC’s consultation on revised and consolidated guidance for the licensing and approval of distillers, rectifiers and compounders on the deadline of August 5 .

“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,” said Alan Powell, co-founder of the BDA.

“For the first time, a single HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) public notice now covers the manufacture of gin and other spirits alongside ‘traditional’ distilling of alcohol. When finalised, 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”.

“Notice 39 includes clear and fair guidance as to how to make a business case to be licensed as a distiller, together with certainty that HMRC will give approval in principle to an application where the details are not finalized but the overall plan is credible and the persons involved are “fit and proper”.  HMRC has also set out a flexible policy for the administration of a number of operations taking place “under one roof”.  We very much welcome this guidance and have made a number of recommendations to further clarify other procedures set out in the Notice or remove conditions completely,” he said

“We commit to work collaboratively with HMRC to produce an effective guidance document for both new applicants and established businesses.  This exercise can also go some considerable way to map out a simplified system for the approval and control by HMRC of all alcohol production – what HMRC has previously called ‘the drinks factory’ concept,” concluded Powell.

The British Distillers’ Alliance says it represents and promotes the interest of craft and independent spirits producers and associated businesses.  Established in July 2016, it says it already has nearly 50 members.