UK distilling IS legal!!

Discussion and plans for legalizing our hobby.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Oxbo Rene » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:05 am

I'm a welder ! ! ! !
I love it when they say "NO SMOKING" but, it''s OK to breath all those welding fumes (stick welding)....
It's all about "power over others" ....................
It is not the matter, nor, the space between the matter,
but rather, it is that finite point at which the two meet,
that, and only that, is what is significant...........
(Of course, I could be wrong) ..........
User avatar
Oxbo Rene
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 468
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:26 am

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby myles » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:20 am

The 1st and 4th bulletpoints in that scanned letter will stop you being issued a license for home use. Business plan and customer list. The interesting thing about them "loosing revenue" is that they find ways to get it back.

If you have a diesel car it can be very easily converted to run on pure vegetable oil. In the UK if you buy veg oil in the supermarket (about £0.15 per litre) and use it instead of diesel (£1.45 per litre) you are supposed to declare your consumption to HMRC. They then give you a tax bill to make the vegetable oil the same price as the diesel.

If you don't declare it they consider it to be tax evasion and prosecute you for fraud.

I suspect that if they ever do issue a license for home consumption it will be attached to a declaration form so that you can tell them how much you consume. They will then give you a bill to recover the tax they lost because you did not buy an off the shelf product.
myles
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:34 am
Location: UK, in the heather

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Lawrence » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:48 am

If you have a diesel car it can be very easily converted to run on pure vegetable oil. In the UK if you buy veg oil in the supermarket (about £0.15 per litre) and use it instead of diesel (£1.45 per litre) you are supposed to declare your consumption to HMRC. They then give you a tax bill to make the vegetable oil the same price as the diesel.


I wish my supermarket was as cheap as yours! I have to pay almost £1 a litre at the cash & carry.
Sadly my car will not run on SVO(straight vegetable oil), unlike my previous car, a Citreon Xantia which died an electrical death :(
The most I can use is apparently a 5% mix.
Actually under current legislation, you are allowed to use 2500 litres per year without any penalty.

As for Alcohol, I have a close friend at HMRC who made some discrete enquiries.
The long and the short of it is you will NOT get a licence unless you want to start up a large distillery for business purposes, it does not matter what the regulations state, or can be (mis)interpreted to state. That is the reality. The only way you will get a permit is if you can promise them a cut of the profits!
So if you want to lobby your MP for a change in the rules then go ahead, otherwise you will have to give up the dream of a legal still, or move to a country where they allow it.
Sorry about that.
Lawrence
Novice
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:05 am
Location: Spain & England

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby John51 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:54 am

In these sort of situations, I follow my guide and mentor, Bette Midler and her famous words, f**k them if they can't take a joke. :)

Beer making became legal in the UK in 1969. So it was very very wrong in 1968 but in 1969 it was ok? Yeah right. afaik, home beer making was legal in the USA during the prohibition era. Go figure. I've just come out of a *cough* green clandestine hobby and imo, if there is no quids changing hands, they're not interested.

Anyone that is parent to an 15yo or older is used to being called a hypocrite but imo, hypocracy has a lot going for it. Appearances keep their importance and the privacy stays behind closed doors. Yes it is hypocritical but it does work. At some point in time, the powers that be accept that this really is a democracy and throw in the towel. C'est la vie.
John51
Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:29 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dnderhead » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:03 pm

""home beer making was legal in the USA during the prohibition era.""
you better do some resurch..
Dnderhead
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 13668
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:07 pm
Location: up north

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby John51 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:22 pm

Can't remember where I read that but I did some research and I'm wrong.
John51
Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:29 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dnderhead » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:48 am

during prohibition no "drinking " alcohol was legal ,it was not against the law to drink .it was against the law to make it.so many went to your local store and bought "medical" alcohol witch was ethanol.this was mixed withe different flavors.this was the birth of "bath tub gin".of course the "powers to be" caught on and started adding different poisons and never told the public,as many did not know it was denatured it was drank. and thats where the stories started of "moonshine will kill you" "make you have jake leg" etc..
now for making beer at home,,yes you could buy malt yeast etc.but it was disguised as something to cook with.
Dnderhead
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 13668
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:07 pm
Location: up north

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby rhumbum » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:03 pm

Dan P. wrote:Now, the sticking point is that operating or even owning distilling equipment without a licence is a criminal offence.


Where are you getting that from? The part of the Alcoholic Liquor and Duties Act that pertains to distilling without a licence is section 25:

Penalty for unlawful manufacture of spirits, etc.

(1)Save as provided by or under this Act, any person who, otherwise than under and in accordance with an excise licence under this Act so authorising him—
(a)manufactures spirits, whether by distillation of a fermented liquor or by any other process; or
(b)uses a still for distilling, rectifying or compounding spirits; or
(c)distils or has in his possession any low wines or feints; or
(d)not being a vinegar-maker, makes or has in his possession any wort or wash fit for distillation,

shall be liable on summary conviction to a penalty of level 5 on the standard scale (up to £5000)


Merely building or owning a still is NOT illegal, you can even legally run your still so long as you are distilling something other than alcohol! :lolno:

Home distilling is much like the personal consumption of cannabis, the law is largely unenforced. I have never heard of anyone in the UK actually getting busted for running a hobby still. The only purpose of this law is to cartelize the production of a popular drug (strong booze) and extend the powers of HMRC. It is a joke 'crime' to break it by producing your own booze as a hobby, in terms of having a clear conscience.
rhumbum
Novice
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:16 am
Location: UK

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dan P. » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:28 am

rhumbum wrote:
Merely building or owning a still is NOT illegal, you can even legally run your still so long as you are distilling something other than alcohol! :lolno:



You are right. My information came from here (Section 25.1.b.);

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1979/4/enacted

Get the updated version here;

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/197 ... y-c1112137
Dan P.
Distiller
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am
Location: The Islands

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby TheBounder » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:12 pm

ALDA 79 has been amended significantly since 1979 and so have the secondary regs.

There is NO prohibition on possessing a still or it being regulated. This was repealed from ALDA in the late eighties.

It is an offence not to hold a licence to distil spirits (ALDA s12) or rectify spirits (ALDA s18). HMRC may refuse to issue a distiller's icence only on the grounds that the still is less than 18 hl capacity but any refusal is an exercise of discretion. There is no size criterion in the case of a rectifier's licence.

HMRC cannot unreasonably refuse a licence because discretion must be exercised reasonably in UK law. Any negative decison from HMRC can now be appealed to the "cheap and cheerful" Tax Tribunal. HMRC would want to avoid that.

The additonal questions/conditions set out by HMRC and set out above in the scanned letter are the same as those for excise warehouse (bond) applications for alcohol and oil etc and are unnecessary and onerous, being recent scrutiny to weed out fraudsters from the beer and wine frauds (ie container frauds of the popular (ie rubbish) brands being sent from, and smuggled back into, the UK).

That said, there is no provision in overarching EU alcohol structures directive provisions to allow for "home distilling" for "established" Member States as there is for fermented liquors, though the Directive permits Member States to apply reduced duty rates for "Small distillers" (ie producing less than 10 hl of pure alcohol (ie 10 hl @100% abv)). The UK chooses not to apply such rates so any "small distillery" would have to pay the full rate of duty. But such production is not verboten in UK law.

If you choose not to be licensed, illicit distillation is the main excise offence that was not decriminalized in 1995 but if HMRC don't detect a home distillation operation.... The ones that get nicked are the ones who cause HMRC to come down on them.
TheBounder
Novice
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:48 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Craisogaenus » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:55 am

Hi forum,

I've been talking regularly to HMRC about setting up a micro-distillery, there is a by-law that is now present which directly concerns smaller ''commercial or educational'' distilleries but it is very hidden and not put directly on the licence lists set out by HMRC. But I'll put my experience up just for the interest of other users when I have time and it's all done and dusted.

P.S. I know this is a hobby site (one which I thoroughly enjoy reading), but I'll just put it there for others' interest.
One day we'll all look back through our bleary drunkenness and wonder ''Why was hobby distilling ever made illegal?''
Craisogaenus
Novice
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:59 am
Location: In the place where the sun doesn't shine... West England.

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dan P. » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:20 am

That would be interesting, Craisogaenus.
Dan P.
Distiller
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am
Location: The Islands

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Stainless » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:04 am

Hi, it wont be easy to do it in the uk, so many problems, I believe that the duke of argyll wanted to have his own personal distillery,maybe for his 'clan' only. well , from what i know he had to build a house for the customs and excise guy to live in so that said customs guy could check his production levels and exact duty on those amounts.
Samo ? was it you who posted that info here? I know I read that a long while ago somewhere.
Duke built the house and all was well i believe.
I worked in heavy haulage in the whisky industry and we had to pick up product from ''bonded warehouses'' Owned by the producer but governed by c+e. Also had to be delivered to another bonded warehouse, same rules. Or to a container terminal under customs seal.All movements of product off site had to be sealed.
Cheers
Stainless
ps
I'm really very tired and can't stay awake, I'll look in later
pps
@Samo. did those 5 polish guys not die as a result of a gas explosion? An old girlfriends dad died as a result of going to the pub for dinner, he was working in a water tank in high block houses, the propane/butane torch he was using had a slight leak,when he resumed work,lit the torch and BANG,the torch was leaking gas inside the tank and the tank would be no more than 1000-2000litres and open topped, gas is heavier than air
this is why we preach SAFETY
Luceo Non Uro
Stainless
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 306
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Stainless » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:24 am

Hi I just remembered about a book i read way way back in late 70's I think it was called ' a history of scottish whisky'. it mentioned a terrible fact that in the late 1800's , london gin makers were buying scottish whisky and RECTIFYING it into gin !!!! What a horrible thought hahah sorry Odin
Cheers
Stainless
Luceo Non Uro
Stainless
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 306
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Craisogaenus » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:20 pm

Depends if it was heather whiskey that might not been so bad.

HMRC like; clarity, procedure, appearance, lack of responsibility, and money. If you can provide all five of those they'll almost give you a handshake and a clap on the back :).

Funny you mention Argyll as I've just bought an Argyll jacket for going up to Scotland with in three weeks.
One day we'll all look back through our bleary drunkenness and wonder ''Why was hobby distilling ever made illegal?''
Craisogaenus
Novice
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:59 am
Location: In the place where the sun doesn't shine... West England.

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Asnur » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:46 pm

Hi to apply a rectifier's license is possible and a lot easier than a distiller's license in the UK. However, in order to redistill alcohol, neutral alcohol will need to be purchased. Would that be difficult? Do anyone know where should i find neutral alcohol and what's price of it in the UK?
Asnur
Novice
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:30 am

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Craisogaenus » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:25 am

There is spirytus. But when looking at rectifying you're losing a lot of profit unless you do something a bit different to what's out there on the market so you can put the price up such as may be doing a range of flavoured vodkas or liqueurs.
One day we'll all look back through our bleary drunkenness and wonder ''Why was hobby distilling ever made illegal?''
Craisogaenus
Novice
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:59 am
Location: In the place where the sun doesn't shine... West England.

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Samohon » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:47 am

Stainless wrote:Samo ? was it you who posted that info here?

No. But it sounds plausible enough for 18th and 19th century laws...!

@Samo. did those 5 polish guys not die as a result of a gas explosion?

Sure did Stainless, but they were making a lot of shine in an enclosed garage at the time... :esurprised:
♦♦ Samohon ♦♦

Beginners should visit The New Distillers Reading Lounge and the Safety and Related Issues among others...
User avatar
Samohon
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 3434
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:22 am
Location: Somewhere in the UK...

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Capt Zero » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:59 am

I know the subject of getting a UK licence is an emotive one, also this thread has run for a long time...but.

I've just been surfing the net and came across this writeup..Here, scroll part the way down the page to where they list a small number of folks who run a micro distillery.

One guy Sacred Gin looks like he's working from his kitchen.

Then we have this couple Here working from their front room.

Seems to me that if these guys can do it, then why not anyone else??

Strange times we live in.... :roll:
User avatar
Capt Zero
Novice
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:11 am
Location: Somewhere in darkest England.

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dan P. » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:56 am

I think the majority of those companies are workig on retifier's licences. It makes sense if you are making gin.
Even Sipsmith's with their big beautiful copper still- Okay, but where do they do their mashing and fermentation? I'm not saying they don't, and am not judging, either. If you go into this (or any) business, I think you have to bear in mind that you have to have profit as a priority, otherwise you will sink fast.
Dan P.
Distiller
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am
Location: The Islands

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby LG11 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:03 am

We have a distilling exemption certificate at work and I have one at home, but there are strict rules in place. The facts are inthe UK you need to distill 1800 ltrs as stated elsewhere OR the Ethanol has to be rendered unfit to drink by methalation or similar. The or similar is slightly tricky as you have to use something that will make separation by distillation in practical/not possible, this generally only leaves you with methanol as a viable option cost wise. Now from a practical view point how does affect home brewers? For a start you wont get a license to distill unless your a business and can distill at least 1800 ltrs, there is no if or buts on this. At work we have customers come taste various things we distill for them and we hold a license to do so, we have to be a commercial LTD company and we MUST render the sample unfit to drink within 4 hours of production (this is a nightmare that is often broken).
I hold a certificate of exemption at home also but this is for research purpose and does not allow me to make spirits, again I have to render anything I distill unfit to drink. It took around 5 years to get an exemption but to get caught without (and they do catch you) is instant destruction of your credibility as a scientist (in my case) and carries some utterly out of proportion penalties.
So my advice in the current climate in the Uk is based on weekly chats with C&E and a good relationship with them................
There is a tax avoidance clamp down going on, now publicly this is being targeted at big business but the reality is different. The CUSTOMS people are well aware that big business has the punch to cover its arse and going after them is pretty fruitless as a country on its own, so first in the firing line is the BIO FUEL people. These are currently being hunted down and a nice stack of them are being processed ready for court, the first 100 or so will be very harshly treated to put others of and so likely will face prison time.
Those that follow will get stiff fines for being stupid enough to continue, there are so many BIO FUEL people in the UK that C&E are making nice inroads on the tax avoidance targets. Little reaches the press about who is paying up because the public want big business to pay and the GOV just want the cash, so they tell you how much they have got back from avoiding tax and leave it at that.
Next in the food chain is the people who distill on a commercial scale for profit without a license, these are portrayed as organized crime gangs and therefore get little sympathy from joe public. But consider the following......................
We sometimes act as expert witness in criminal cases against people who operate illegal stills, I have acted as such 4 times this year alone.
When you buy 'Cheap' booze from some guy that knows a guy you assume its from someone thats gone on a 'booze cruise' to europe and therefore hasnt paid duty, but think about it. Often you buy cigs or booze way below what its sold for abroad, and if you consider fuel and profit etc how can these people actually make a single penny??
The truth is most 'cheap booze' in the UK is produced here on small industrial sites or garages, often they are NOT eastern Europeans gangs and criminals. They are just as likely to be someone you know well, someone you have known for years, someone who started off making a bit for a hobby................... Someone who used to give it away then decided to charge a little, someone who after a while decided to make a little bit more and stick a label on, someone who after a little while longer decided that he could make more from the garage.
And so on, this is actually based on all 4 cases I have spoken against in court this year. ALL were normal people who's hobby got out of hand and they got too confident and cocky in one case, sometimes things just snowball and before you know it your standing in the Dock looking at 4 years inside or in one case 7 years!
So by all means have a hobby, keep it quiet and be careful who you give it away too. DONT get tempted to sell it even more so at a loss as this WILL get you a free holiday at the worlds worse holiday resort!
Enjoy what you do but be sensible, personally at the moment I wouldnt give it away outside your immediate close circle. I certainly wouldnt print a bloody label and stick it on a bottle.
Keep in mind that because you want it to be legal your judgment is impaired and you think what your doing causes no harm, the reality is that courts and C&E hold a different view and you are public enemy number 2. Your also a easy target to go after with little resource (especially now with new legal aid rules), your all a fine target to get tax in the coffers and good old fine money in the GOV bank. You also help get the crime figures down without much effort.
Please be sensible and while I wish it was legal it just isnt in the UK. I hate giving evidence against people like this, but when I hear the stupidity of some people I cant help think they asked for it. Take a leaf out of a good poachers book, take your meat and enjoy it quietly.
LG

EDIT.................

I thought I would share a few things from the recent case I did. Just basic facts about it


Guy been making beer and wine as a hobby for 12 years
Claims he only been making spirits 3 years
So how was the fine and back tax worked out?

Our job in part is to asses the equipment found and report back its capacity IF run for 24 hours a day 7 days a week......
Now this is very much stacked against you and assumes the following by default.
You dont eat,drink,sleep and you have the funds to buy and all the ingredients etc to run your still 24/7
Very few cases work on real figures as the court and C&E want maximum revenue from you

The guy claimed he probably made around 100 bottles over three years! This is obviously unlikely and therefore his evidence in whole was disregarded effectively.
So he had a nice sized still and the court assumed that he had one before this one of similar size, we worked out he could produce around 1000 bottles a week! If run 24/7 without a break in production for TWELVE YEARS

He was given 7 years inside and fined £110,000 in back duty, slightly unfair considering they wouldnt let him pay tax at the time.
Funny enough it was almost exactly the amount he had in assets like like his house etc so these were seized and are being sold, the remaining money should just be enough to pay 4/5ths of his legal fees.

Worth noting I believed him when he said he never charged for what he made, I also believe it was purely a hobby that got a little out of hand, he seemed to like the fact he produce was highly regarded by those that tasted it.
So how was he caught?
His son was mugged and a policeman turned up to take a witness statement and saw a small glass condenser on the draining board having just been washed up. The police then searched the house with probable cause and found the still in the garage and 26 bottles of drink, he life was ruined from that point on
LG11
Novice
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dan P. » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:08 pm

LG11 wrote:
I thought I would share a few things from the recent case I did. Just basic facts about it


Guy been making beer and wine as a hobby for 12 years
Claims he only been making spirits 3 years
So how was the fine and back tax worked out?

Our job in part is to asses the equipment found and report back its capacity IF run for 24 hours a day 7 days a week......
Now this is very much stacked against you and assumes the following by default.
You dont eat,drink,sleep and you have the funds to buy and all the ingredients etc to run your still 24/7
Very few cases work on real figures as the court and C&E want maximum revenue from you

The guy claimed he probably made around 100 bottles over three years! This is obviously unlikely and therefore his evidence in whole was disregarded effectively.
So he had a nice sized still and the court assumed that he had one before this one of similar size, we worked out he could produce around 1000 bottles a week! If run 24/7 without a break in production for TWELVE YEARS

He was given 7 years inside and fined £110,000 in back duty, slightly unfair considering they wouldnt let him pay tax at the time.
Funny enough it was almost exactly the amount he had in assets like like his house etc so these were seized and are being sold, the remaining money should just be enough to pay 4/5ths of his legal fees.

Worth noting I believed him when he said he never charged for what he made, I also believe it was purely a hobby that got a little out of hand, he seemed to like the fact he produce was highly regarded by those that tasted it.
So how was he caught?
His son was mugged and a policeman turned up to take a witness statement and saw a small glass condenser on the draining board having just been washed up. The police then searched the house with probable cause and found the still in the garage and 26 bottles of drink, he life was ruined from that point on


Interesting and worrying story. Could you give us the names, dates and locality of the case?
Dan P.
Distiller
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am
Location: The Islands

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby YHB » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:26 pm

On the other hand;

http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Man-i ... story.html

The penalties appear to be similar they could only prove he sold five bottles, but I do not think that this operation could ever be described as a "hobby that got out of hand".
YHB
 

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby LG11 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:02 am

Dan P. wrote:
LG11 wrote:
I thought I would share a few things from the recent case I did. Just basic facts about it


Guy been making beer and wine as a hobby for 12 years
Claims he only been making spirits 3 years
So how was the fine and back tax worked out?

Our job in part is to asses the equipment found and report back its capacity IF run for 24 hours a day 7 days a week......
Now this is very much stacked against you and assumes the following by default.
You dont eat,drink,sleep and you have the funds to buy and all the ingredients etc to run your still 24/7
Very few cases work on real figures as the court and C&E want maximum revenue from you

The guy claimed he probably made around 100 bottles over three years! This is obviously unlikely and therefore his evidence in whole was disregarded effectively.
So he had a nice sized still and the court assumed that he had one before this one of similar size, we worked out he could produce around 1000 bottles a week! If run 24/7 without a break in production for TWELVE YEARS

He was given 7 years inside and fined £110,000 in back duty, slightly unfair considering they wouldnt let him pay tax at the time.
Funny enough it was almost exactly the amount he had in assets like like his house etc so these were seized and are being sold, the remaining money should just be enough to pay 4/5ths of his legal fees.

Worth noting I believed him when he said he never charged for what he made, I also believe it was purely a hobby that got a little out of hand, he seemed to like the fact he produce was highly regarded by those that tasted it.
So how was he caught?
His son was mugged and a policeman turned up to take a witness statement and saw a small glass condenser on the draining board having just been washed up. The police then searched the house with probable cause and found the still in the garage and 26 bottles of drink, he life was ruined from that point on


Interesting and worrying story. Could you give us the names, dates and locality of the case?



I cant give details without being in contempt of court, I was a expert witness so even if I was able I wouldnt because of professional ethics.
I doubt there is much in the news about it, there are courts full everyday and only a fraction of cases make the papers. That is the bit that worries me most, the crack is a bit like hidden speed cameras. Your told its to deter a behavior and yet they hide whats going on, if I am honest I think its purely a easy way to reach targets. I dont really think its even about the money, just another department trying to reach some obscure and ill defined target set by people who are so far removed from the real world it beggers belief.
I cant see a micro distillery getting exemption at the moment, in Scotland there is a way to do it but its so expensive for HMRC and C&E to police it they havnt issued any exemptions in a while. In our own case I strongly believe we wouldnt have got anywhere had we not been acting as expert witnesses for the prosecution, there are occasions we have to set up the equipment and run it to determine the capacity.
Some of the stills I have seen are utterly incredible and must have taken a very long time to construct, the builders of these should be employed in research to make the process more efficient. They should not be rotting in prison and treated by the state as some sort of kiddy fiddler! But these are my opinions and held only in private, the law is what it is and therefore I cant condone breaking the law.
So why am I here? Educational information and a desire to make sure people keep safe, just because people are breaking the law dosnt mean they should be at risk. Thats my official posistion and my private one is just that..........PRIVATE
LG11
Novice
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dan P. » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:33 am

I'm afraid I'm skeptical of this story. There is too much about it that does not ring true. Add to that your suggestion that it won't be in the news (i.e. don't bother trying to google it), and that you can't give details... Hmmmm.
I don't mean to have a go, but the story of one of our own getting very badly fucked by HMRC is of serious interest here, especially as it goes against so much of what we (think we) know about law and justice in our country.
Dan P.
Distiller
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am
Location: The Islands

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby YHB » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:14 am

I tried various sites to try and track down how many prosecutions there were in the UK, from what I can see illegal distillation is classed as "Alcohol Fraud" and falls into the same statistic band as "Smuggling".

Lots of statistics around but all with very small numbers.

Finally came up with this one, yes it is 2 years out of date but interesting never the less.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/commi ... -strategy/

Quote - In the four years from 2006-07 to 2009-10 the highest number of successful prosecutions in any one year was six and the highest number of defendants was 16. This is from the UK Parliament Select Committee website.

The other thing that is noteworthy and if I am reading it correctly - It costs the UK government 17 pounds to recover 1 pound of lost revenue.
YHB
 

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby YHB » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:14 am

Having posited the above where it seems that not many people were being convicted, here is another government department bragging about how prosecutions are rising.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/articles/pro ... x_evasion/

In all my searches I have yet to find a hobbyist beingn prosecuted or convicted.
YHB
 

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby LG11 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:47 am

Why are you searching for a hobbyist? Read what I put carefully, we class him as a hobbyist he was prosecuted as if he was a serious criminal and not just joe blogs. To be fair that was kind of my point to start with, if your caught dont think you will be convicted as some kind of innocent hobbyist just making a few bottles for friends an family. The whole point of what they are doing is to make you out to be public enemy number 2, that way there is no public support for what you do.
I put the stuff about google because I have already looked for it for someone else who was interested and I couldnt find anything, you may be skeptical and thats your right, but open your eyes up and look around for ALL the people done for bio fuel......... How many can you find? Do you honestly think that so few have been prosecuted? Take a look for council tax dodgers you will find some but every week every magistrates court sets aside a whole day to deal with them, how many actually make the news?
As for me not giving details, thats just common sense seeing as part of my living is made from giving evidence. I have no reason to scare people and I am here to help, but some of you got to start seeing the real risk your facing if your caught. Ok you found one two years ago, so in your head there has only been one conviction for this in two years?? Do you honestly believe this?
And it may well come under smuggling but the case was brought to reclaim unpaid duty and was treated as tax evasion and fraud. If you want real proof ring around any crown court near a C&E office and work outwards in a radius, shouldnt take many calls ;)
What really troubles me is your relying on news to warn you things are getting hot, you seem to think its newsworthy because its a subject that interests you. think about the crowded prisons and how many of the people inside actually had there case in so much as a local paper.
You are not obliged to believe me and if you like I will say no more on cases I attend, you can carry on in blind bliss and keep giving away bottles (if you do already) continue to get that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you gift a bottle to someone, but one day you will get a knock sooner or later.
What we do as hobbyists wether you like it or not is illegal, it is one the highest priority crimes as it involves revenue for empty coffers. You probably have your own house and car and this alone makes you a prime target, go talk to a open C&E officer and you quickly discover your viewed very much like a certain herb grower is, only much worse as your avoiding paying there duty.

To balance this all out take a look from there side, how much money do you think is lost each year in unpaid duty on booze illegally made?
Consider a £25 bottle of scotch (low end price) £18 of that is tax on a single bottle! So take a rough guess how many millions of bottles are made each year by hobbyist then multiply that by £18, when you look at it that way its serous money hobbyist are avoiding paying. That kinda money would put a serious dent in the coffers, then look how easy it is to get that money back. Your a hobbyist in your mind and not a serious criminal, your downfall is you dont think like a criminal so you dont hide your assets etc. They catch you and grabbing your house of you as proceeds of crime is easy and quick, things may well be different over the pond and the trouble with forums like this is it starts to make you think your taking part in legit hobby. If you think that go report yourself and see what happens. To everyone else in the Uk I would say dont be stupid and watch who you tell and who you give bottles too, it would pay you to look at what you make as if it were drugs and act accordingly. If you grew or made drugs would you give it away so freely? Would you tell as many people as you do?
All I want is for people to start taking the minimum steps so they are not caught, trust me I have seen how you get treated when caught.
I will go read the links you posted especially the one that sounds like organized crime! Funny how it makes you think that and yet you only have the news side of the story, maybe he was actually a hobbyist you wouldnt know unless you were in court.
Like I said before, the cases I have dealt with were treated like the guys were public enemy number 2.
LG
LG11
Novice
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby LG11 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:01 am

If you read the second link carefully it covers what I said at the start. They tell you about the money that is lost and what it can spent on, they mention the top earners and companies, this puts in the public mind that all tax fraud is by rich people and companies and therefore its right and proper to go after them. The public openly then back going after tax evaders with the full force of the law.
But the truth behind this is big companies and very rich people can afford to find the loop holes that makes what they do LEGAL, its avoidance not evasion and thats a big difference in law, one is legal one is not.
So when they grab you for not paying duty and VAT and prosecute you, what can the public say? NOTHING!!! Ultimately in law what we do as a hobby is ILLEGAL and what big business and the very rich do is not. Dosnt matter if you like it or not the fact is your evading TAX and therefore a criminal, you cant argue against this because on the one hand we want tax evaders caught and punished we as a society back that. However as hobbyist we are actually alot easier to go after and as your links prove much more profitable.
The figures for collecting evaded tax point this out, there were not making a profit going after the badboys it cost too much. The figures are out of date and the last budget less than 6 months ago announced a big crack down, the figures from this wont be out for at least a year
but expect a big rise in collected tax, you will think great they are getting big business to pay but the truth is the money is coming from you an me and everyone else that breaks the law.
Actually I dont break the law but I would still do what I do even if I wasnt exempt.
LG11
Novice
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: UK distilling IS legal!!

Postby Dan P. » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:54 pm

I don't understand why you can't give the details. It just doesn't sound true to me without something concrete to hang it on. This is not a story about some welfare skank. It's a very strange story of a man being caught via the most mind-boggling piece of ill luck/coincidence (police saw a glass condenser in the drying rack?) and then being stripped of all his worldly belongings for a crime that is not very clearly a crime (if he wasn't selling it how could they claim tax on it?). And HMRC had "expert witnesses" to tell them how much he could have made? HMRC are the experts! It is bizarre, and definitely newsworthy, if it were true, but I'm afraid I don't believe it is.
Dan P.
Distiller
 
Posts: 1072
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:24 am
Location: The Islands

PreviousNext

Return to Legalization of Home Distilling



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests