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HMRC internal manual

Spirits Production Manual

Law, Policy and Application - Ascertainment of strength of spirits


(1) Subject to paragraph (2) below, the strength of spirits may be ascertained -

(a) by means of a hydrometer, a thermometer and the table entitled “The Practical Alcohol Tables Volume 2”; or

(b) by determining the density of the spirits in air at 20 degrees Celsius and taking the strength of the spirits to be the percentage of alcohol by volume corresponding to that density in the table entitled “Laboratory Alcohol Table”, provided that where the density of any spirits determined as aforesaid falls between any two consecutive numbers in that table the strength shall be determined by linear interpolation; or
(c) by a method set out in the Annex to Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2870/2000.

(2) Where spirits contain any substance other than alcohol andwater the Commissioners may either –

(a) require that the strength of the spirits be ascertained by any of the means prescribed by this Part of these Regulations after removing from the spirits any such substance to the extent which they consider necessary by distillation or such other process as they direct and adding water to replace the volume so removed; or

(b) allow the strength of the spirits to be ascertained , as though they contained alcohol and water only, by any of the means prescribed by this Part of these Regulations – TSR Regn 18

Policy and Application

Further information on the measurement of strength of spirits can be found at SPIR3320.