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If you are a drinks industry professional or company, please click here to sign the industry petition.

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Up to 80% of the retail price of a bottle of spirits goes straight to the Crown in the form of excise and VAT. Taxes for small, independent distillers are the same as for huge, multinational corporations. It’s time to give the UK’s small distillers a level playing field by lowering their duties.

Craft distillers in the UK are local businesses that bring jobs, new products, and tourism to communities. They use traditional production methods that ensure unique spirits that make their communities proud. But their development is hindered by unfavourable tax policies.

To compare, tax-friendly policies for distillers in the United States have been a huge boon to new local businesses. Over 650 new distilleries have opened in the United States in the past decade bringing jobs and communities together. A similar boom would happen in the UK by modifying tax policies.

When you sign the Small Duties for Small Distillers Petition, you vote to help small business investment in the UK. For more details on how you will help, read our article about the benefits of a progressive tax duty.


The Small Duties for Small Distillers Petition has two phases:

  1. February-May 15: collection of signatures
  2. May 15 to June 13 (World Gin Day): writing of formal proposal with industry bodies and submission of signatures to MPs

We seek your support in petitioning for a significant drop in duties for small-scale producers. The precise percent drop in duty and the production volume are to be determined in Phase 2. 

For inspiration we look to the United States Congress where there is currently a bill in committee drafted with the American Distilling Institute that would reduce taxes for small distillers by 80%, from the $13.50 (£8.83) current Federal duty per proof gallon to $2.70 (£1.77) per proof gallon for small distillers.

A small distiller is defined in this case as producing under 100,000 proof gallons annually. A proof gallon is defined as a 50% alcohol at 60ºF (15.5ºC). At 40% ABV, that would define a small distiller at 125,000 gallons annually, the equivalent of 473,176 litres or 675,966 70cl 40% ABV bottles (112,661 cases). Considering most craft distillers in the UK produce well under 100,000 litres per year, similar legislation made law by the government would significantly encourage aspiring spirits entrepreneurs.

For examples of how much spirits entrepreneurs can contribute to the economy, we can consider that the state of Oregon estimated in 2011 that its 69 distillers at the time made $53m (£35m) in annual sales while some estimates put the potential of the state of Michigan's booming craft distilling industry at $400m (£262m).

Please contribute any additional facts that you may find by tweeting to us or writing us at [email protected]