Spirits production in the UK (Excise Notice 39)

Find out what spirit manufacturers need to do to comply with HMRC.



This notice explains the:

  • licensing of distillers, rectifiers and compounders
  • procedure of approving distiller’s plant and production process
  • warehousing of spirits
Published 1 January 2012
Last updated 20 September 2022 + show all updates
  1. Out of date information about distiller’s warehouses has been removed from section 10.

  2. Section 10.3 has been updated as spirits produced by a third-party distillery may not be stored or processed in a distiller’s warehouse which is not directly connected to the production distillery. Sections 14 Exports of small producer spirits, 14.1 Small producers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland exporting spirits to outside the EU, 14.2 Small producers in Northern Ireland moving spirits in duty suspense to the EU and 14.3 Small producer spirit export declaration have been added.

  3. Sections 2.1, 3.1 and 14 have been updated with information about a change of business ownership.

  4. This page has been updated because the Brexit transition period has ended.

  5. Information added about temporary changes to the use and supply of denatured alcohol and duty-free spirits, to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  6. Guidance on the accuracy of returns has been updated.

  7. Section 11.3 has been updated with information on where you can send a written general enquiry about excise.

  8. Section 14.1 updated to clarify when a rectifier or compounder doesn't need a licence to re-distil, combine or mix spirits.

  9. Updated Excise Notice 39 cancels and replaces the previous version issued on 1 January 2012.

  10. First published.