A new measure from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) allows anyone who uses duty paid alcohol as an ingredient in ‘the commercial production and sale of food and drink’ to be eligible for Alcoholic Ingredients Relief.
EU law has allowed the relief to be available to anybody since 1993, but until this month, only wholesale manufactures were able to claim in the UK.
Excise consultant Alan Powell told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser that because large amounts of beer and wine are used in cooking in pubs and restaurants, the move could have a significant impact on the hospitality industry.
“The alcohol does not have to be cooked off. It can remain in the product,” he said. “So not only should the duty relief be comprehensive, it could apply to anything that could be deemed a food and could be very alcoholic – as strong as a pint and in anything that can be classed as a food, such as ice cream, trifles, fruit in brandy, jellies, etc.
“HMRC suppressed the law and kept it to wholesalers because they knew there would be difficulty controlling it and there were fears that a massive amount of duty would have to be relieved. If you have a chef chucking bottles of sherry into a trifle, you’re looking at being able to claim back about £2 a week, which over a year adds up. You didn’t used to be able to use the best quality wine in cooking, and now you can.”
Duty will also be able to be claimed back on alcoholic drinks that are not stronger than 1.2%, such as weak shandys.
Details on how to claim can be found here.