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HMRC internal manual

Spirits Production Manual

Law, Policy and Application - Stills under 18 hectolitres capacity


Where the largest still to be used on any premises in respect of which a distiller’s licence is sought for the manufacture of spirits by distillation of a fermented liquor is of less than 18 hectolitres capacity, the Commissioners may refuse to grant a licence or may grant it only subject to such conditions as they see fit to impose and where the largest still so used on any premises in respect of which a licence is heldis of less than that capacity, the Commissioners may revoke the licence or attach to it such conditions as they see fit to impose – ALDAs12(5)

Policy and Application

We may refuse to issue a licence where the largest still to be used has a capacity below 18 hectolitres, or an equivalent throughput could not be achieved in an 8 hour shift using a patent of continuous still.

However, providing the still will be used for the commercial production of spirits, applications for a distiller’s licence will still be considered, providing they are supported by a business plan, which clearly demonstrates the commercial nature of the proposal. There is no set format for the business plan, but it should contain information such as the type of spirits to be made, the location where production is to take place, the level of anticipated annual production and the intended market for the product. Where a plan is insufficiently detailed for us to make a decision, we will ask for further information.

Applications for a distiller’s licence in respect of stills below 18 hls, together with the required business plan, are to be considered by the relevant assurance team for the applicant.