The scheme: overview
The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) introduced a requirement for wholesalers of alcohol, at or after the duty point, to be approved by HMRC. Existing and new businesses trading wholesale in alcohol are required to submit an application for approval. They must demonstrate to you that they fulfil certain ‘fit and proper’ criteria and once approved, continue to maintain the fit and proper standards. They must also comply with new record keeping obligations and operate due diligence, to help reduce the penetration of illicit alcohol into the legitimate market. Additionally, wholesalers and retailers of alcohol will be obliged to purchase alcohol only from approved wholesalers. See AWRS20800 for exclusions.
From 1 April 2017, all trade buyers of alcohol supplied by an approved wholesaler (called ‘controlled liquor’ (see AWRS20600) are required to check that any wholesaler they are purchasing from has been approved.