Do you produce or sell alcohol wholesale?

If you sell alcohol to another business you may need to apply to register for AWRS. If you are planning to start a business doing this, you must apply at least 45 days before your business starts.

If you haven’t yet made an application, do it now. There are penalties if you continue to trade without approval.

Do you buy alcohol to sell to others?

When you need to apply

You’ll need to apply for AWRS if all the following apply:

  • your business sells, or arranges the sale of alcohol, and has an establishment in the UK
  • your sales are made at, or after, the point where Excise Duty is due
  • any sales to other businesses are made for onward sale or supply

Types of business that need to register

All businesses that supply alcohol to other businesses for resale need to apply. This includes:

  • breweries and microbreweries
  • wine producers and vineyards
  • spirit producers
  • cider producers who make more than 70 hectolitres of cider a year
  • wine importers
  • general wholesalers selling alcohol, including cash and carry businesses
  • specialist wine wholesalers

You’ll also have to apply if you’re supplying alcohol to other businesses for resale as one of the following:

  • a broker
  • a retailer who makes regular sales to other businesses
  • an auctioneer
  • a charity, non-profit organisation or educational establishment that produces and/or supplies alcohol to other businesses for resale

From 1 April 2017, if you buy alcohol from UK suppliers to sell to others, you must check that your supplier has been approved. Ask your supplier to tell you their AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN); they will also show the URN on their invoices.

HMRC will provide an online service of approved wholesalers from 1 April 2017. From then, you should check that your supplier is approved. You should carry out this check, alongside any other checks, as often as you need to ensure you are making alcohol purchases from an approved wholesaler and not just the first time. The online service and guidance will be available on GOV.UK.

You will need to keep records to prove you have checked that your supplier is approved, so you don’t inadvertently become involved in selling duty unpaid alcohol. You will be able to print or save the details of your check.

From the 1 April 2017 it will be an offence for you to buy alcohol from an unapproved supplier. You could be liable for a penalty and have your alcohol stock seized.

You can find more information at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-alcohol-wholesaler-registration-scheme-awrs