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HMRC internal manual

Spirits Production Manual

Law, Policy and Application - Approval of plant and process


(1) Before a distiller manufactures spirits he shall make application in writing or by means of electronic communication to the Commissioners for approval of the plant and process he intends to use.

(2) Any application made under paragraph (1) above shall be accompanied by a description of the processes referred to in it and a description of the plant referred to in it, together with such additional information as the Commissioners may require.

(3) No distiller shall begin to manufacture spirits until he has received the approval of the Commissioners of the plant and processes referred to in his application under paragraph (1) above, and any such approval may be given subject to conditions.

(4) The Commissioners may for reasonable cause at any time vary oradd to any conditions imposed on the approval of any plant or process, or withdraw any such approval. – TSR Regn 4

Policy and Application

Distillers must apply in writing for approval of the plant and process they intend to use in manufacturing spirits.

When considering the approval of distilleries of an unconventional nature, you should notify the Alcohol Team, ESM of any proposals which may have a bearing on spirits production policy.

Guidance on any difficulties of a technical nature can be obtained from the Warehousing Unit of Expertise.

You will find the procedure for the approval of distillery plant and processes set out in SPIR3280.

A specimen approval letter is reproduced at SPIR3300. In addition to the standard conditions, you may impose any conditions which you deem necessary for the protection of the revenue. For research and experimental distilleries the additional conditions outlined should also be included.

If you have reasonable cause, you may at any time:

  • vary or add to any conditions attaching to an approval; or
  • withdraw an approval.