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Published on January 31st, 2018 | by Dean Carr


Wholesaling Alcohol in the UK

Selling alcohol to as a wholesaler in the UK
If you sell alcohol as a wholesaler to another UK business you may need to apply for approval for the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS). HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced this scheme in April 2017 to tackle alcohol fraud. An approved wholesaler by HMRC and has an AWRS Unique Reference Number known as a (URN). Your customers will also need to check that you are an approved wholesaler under the (AWRS) registration scheme and keep annual records to prove their due diligence.
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 be approved
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

For more information on the HMRC Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) check out the link below.
The Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

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About the Author

Dean Carr

Dean has been involved in alcohol licensing for over 20 years and has helped many independent retailers and corporate clients obtain a licence to sell alcohol or offer late night refreshment, regulated entertainment from all sorts of premises. Dean writes articles for various trade related blogs and is currently Managing Director of the PLT group of companies who run APLH and SCPLH personal alcohol licence courses nationwide. You can contact Dean or a member of his expert licensing team on: 01242 222 188

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