Laws and costs involved in selling my booze

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bill_face

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Hello all,

I'm sure this has come up before, but I could find anything easily with the search facility.

I've been making cider for a few years, and its becoming quite palatable. More recently I had a go at brewing some beer, and had quite appetising results with a bitter, and a lager. I drink all the produce myself and give it to friends. The problem I have is I like brewing, but don't drink that much, and don't have many friends.

However I have a possible solution in that I run a music rehearsal studio, so have a somewhat captive audience. There is an off-license nearby where the bands get their beers at the moment, that sells pretty warm cheap beers (Tyskie/Heineken etc) and I have a fairly hipster customer base and have noticed more recently that some of them aren't buying the offlicense beers, but bringing their own more esoteric and often locally produced beers from elsewhere.

So I thought if I could sell my beer & cider alongside some other local brews, I might be able to get a few takers. I'm not really thinking this will be a massive money spinner, it would more be an extension of a hobby, that might further enhance the studio.

So I've started looking at the costs and complications involved. Seemingly an alcohol license based on my rateable value would be in the region of £70 / year. I would need to get a personal alcohol license which would be around £100 (and possibly not renewed annually). I have noticed that quite a few other rehearsal studios are licensed to sell alcohol, so i think this should be relatively doable

Where it gets more complicated is producing my own alcohol, as based on my searching so far it might involve a planning permission application! I think I might have to notify environmental health, and possibly obtain a food production certificate. I live above the studio, and at the moment press the cider in my garden, and ferment it in storage areas of the studio. The beer I make in my home kitchen and brew in the same place as the cider. I know that it is possible to make food at home on a small scale for commercial sale, so am wondering if the same is true of alcohol? I have tried calling the local council for more advice but the call back from Environmental Health doesn't appear to be happening.

I also gather there may be some differences in the legislation of beer and cider on a small scale. Seemingly the amount of cider I'd produce wouldn't need an application for duty, but the beer would.

If anyone has any further info on either obtaining an alcohol license for a non-pub venue, or producing alcohol for sale from home I'd be very grateful.

Cheers

Phil
 
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Chippy_Tea

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The letter of the law states you cannot give away your home brew let alone sell it, we all know this is BS and many members here do bottle swaps etc and no one has ever been prosecuted but to move to the quantity you may be selling is totally different.
 
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Clint

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I do believe you can sell a certain quantity of cider before customs and excise are interested. Beer is a different matter.
I doubt pressing fruit in your garden would pass the local food hygiene bizzies.
 

Leon103

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Planning application to change the use of the flat, you will need to contact your water/sewage provider. Mortgage provider and insurance provider will need to informed.
 

Brewnaldo

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Cant you just give the cider to your artists for free and encourage the use of a handily placed tip jar?
 

An Ankoù

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Dear oh dear, what wet blankets! Check it out with the appropriate authority and if it looks doable then do it. I did a quick googling and it looks like if you make less than 70 hectolitres of cider you have to notify the authority and declare your exemption, but that was just a quick look out of curiosity. There used to be plenty of small cider makers selling "at the farm gate" in Somerset. Why not do a bit of research and give one or two a call to see how the land lies?
I don't think there are any exemptions at all for beer, though.
This was the result from my search string "duty exemption on cider"
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phildo79

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Sell a packet of peanuts for a fiver and throw in a bottle of beer for free.
 
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An Ankoù

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I do believe you can sell a certain quantity of cider before customs and excise are interested. Beer is a different matter.
I doubt pressing fruit in your garden would pass the local food hygiene bizzies.
Steady on Clint. This is scrumpy cider we're talking about. If a dead wasp doesn't get poured with your pint, it's not kosher!
I think the exemptions rules are different if you make the cider fizzy, by the way.
 

bill_face

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Thanks for the replies. I am already sort of offering cider & beers as an unofficial incentive to some customers that strike me as less letigious, but would like to keep it above board. I also think you get more honest feedback if people are paying.

I think there are definitely some loopholes that make cider more viable, so will press harder on the local environmental health for some answers. On top of that its more time and resource effective to make beer in small batches than cider, so if i can sell my cider i could keep my beer for personal consumption.
 

Chippy_Tea

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You can dodge the tax as explained below but not the licence -



How much cider can I produce before cider duty becomes payable?
UK tax regulations allow anyone (company or private individual) to make and sell up to 70 hectolitres (7,000 litres) of cider or perry in any rolling period of 12 consecutive months without having to register with HMRC or pay cider duty. The 7,000 litre limit does also includes any cider or perry used for your own consumption. Once you are producing more than the exempt limit, cider duty becomes payable on all of the volume produced (not just the volume that exceeds the limit).


Licencing and Licences

OK, now we are into the murky waters of licencing. It is probably easiest to tell you what you can do by stages:

i. No Licence

You may sell your cider to 'premises licence holders' - pubs, clubs (check!) and festivals (again, the onus is on you to check!) You can also give 10 TEN's during the course of a year (TEN's are Temprary Events Notices - check your own council website for how to obtain these).

You may not retail your cider yourself unless you are nominated to (i.e. given explicit permission) by a DPS (Designated Premises Supervisor) - who must hold a Personal Licence.

You may not sell your alcohol over the internet either, although you may sell your cider to someone who has a premises licence who wishes to sell your cider on line. Remember though, the premises licence covers the place where the alcohol is sold and distributed from. You may not distribute your cider for them... they have to take the stock to their premises.

Complex? Yes. If in doubt, ask on group. There may be exceptions to the above, but its generally wise to check as the fine is pretty hefty and you could end up excluding yourself from getting a Personal Licence!

ii. Personal Licence

When you hold one of these you may give 52 TEN's per year (although its limited to 15 per location per year... confusinger still!). You may also retail acohol on a premises with a premises licence (and with the premises licence holders permission!).

Note - a personal licence does NOT mean you can start selling from your home. That is a whole other kettle of fish!

Note the internet sales rules above - they still apply to Personal Licence holders!

In order to get a personal licence, you will need to attend a course. A list of establishments running the required courses are available by following the link below


Once you have this qualification, you need to apply for a CRB check and complete the forms (and grease the palms of your local council with money - about £37 currently).

A Personal Licence lasts for 10 years and is a bit like a driving licence. You must always have it with you when you sell and must always keep it on the premises where the cider is... etc. etc. etc.

iii Premises Licence

A Personal Licence holder may apply for a premises licence to sell alcohol from a designated premises. Its a pretty lengthly and complex process which is further complicated by the 'goals' of the local police and council for things like drunkeness, child protection, noise/pollution and crime.

Each council has its own procedures and requirements and we can only advise you to take advise when applying. These days, CCTV is a mere start on the requirements that you will need to put in place - you will need to complete a detailed document about what you intend to do, what times etc.

Do note that there is no such thing as a 'farm gate licence' these days!
 

An Ankoù

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The OP is asking how to legally sell his cider not how can i dodge the rules and sell it illegally!
That's exactly why I've directed him to the relevant gov.co website. Why do you think otherwise?

we all know this is BS and many members here do bottle swaps etc and no one has ever been prosecuted
You, on the other hand are condoning "dodging the rules", aren't you?

Hypocrisy or not?

the law relating to still cider appears not to be the same as that relating to beer when it comes to small quantities. However, to be sure, I've directed the OP to the appropriate authority and recommended he consult with other small, commercial cider producers. What constructive advice have you offered?

I also gather there may be some differences in the legislation of beer and cider on a small scale. Seemingly the amount of cider I'd produce wouldn't need an application for duty, but the beer would.
The OP is already aware that a brewer, home or otherwise, must pay duty on his beer if he wishes to sell any of it. He is unsure of whether there is an exemption for cider and, on the face of things, there may be.


I hope that helps. OP.
 

Chippy_Tea

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The OP is asking how to legally sell his cider not how can i dodge the rules and sell it illegally!
That's exactly why I've directed him to the relevant gov.co website. Why do you think otherwise?
The reason i mentioned it was because you posted "Dear oh dear, what wet blankets" in your post on page one.




You, on the other hand are condoning "dodging the rules", aren't you?
There is a huge difference between swapping a bottle of beer once a month and selling many gallons of cider without the appropriate licence and other legal requirements, when i said BS i meant that the law is so strict it states you cannot give a single to anyone.
 

An Ankoù

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Fair enough. And let's not fall out over a misunderstanding.
My reference to wet blankets was inspired by the total lack of positive feedback to an enthusiastic idea: you're correct when you talk about homebrew, but the OP finally got round to talking about just cider. Then there's food standards; I answered that jokingly, change of use of premises, environmental issues relating to water. Water isn't used in cider making apart from rinsing the apples and the press.

My point is, let's show a bit of enthusiasm for a keen member wanting to expand his hobby. I didn't see a single word of encouragement before my post.

It sounds like it could be a goer, too.
Your stuff on licensing was very interesting. I reckon the OP should go forward with optimism.
 

Chippy_Tea

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I put the lack of enthusiasm down to the fact this question is asked fairly frequently and the answer is always the same.
I wish him well and hope he finds a way to get his business off the ground without too much hassle and red tape.
 

Stevieboy

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The letter of the law states you cannot give away your home brew let alone sell it, we all know this is BS and many members here do bottle swaps etc and no one has ever been prosecuted but to move to the quantity you may be selling is totally different.
I didn't know you weren't even allowed to give it away!? That's a new one on me.
 

Binkei Huckaback

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I doubt pressing fruit in your garden would pass the local food hygiene bizzies.
Are these the same 'food hygiene bizzies' whose job it is to force the owners of mouse and cockroach infested restaurants and takeaways to clean up their act, investigate outbreaks of food poisoning and ensure producers are producing food safely, but by all accounts leave you alone if you're running a tight ship?
 

Sadfield

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Check out parts 1, 2 and 3 of this blog, some or all may apply. Particularly part 2, there's also some useful info in many of the replies.


IIRC, the problem with combining a hobby for your own consumption and selling, is legally and physically separating the purchase and use of grain, plus the area where you brew.
 
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