From the 1st April 2017 it will be an offence for you to buy alcohol from an unapproved supplier.

News & blog » Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

March 9, 2017

Inma Fuentes Grant

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have introduced this scheme to tackle alcohol fraud.

Do you produce or sell alcohol wholesale?

If you sell alcohol to another business you may need to apply to register on the AWRS. If you are planning to start a business doing this, you must apply at least 45 days before your business starts.

If you haven’t yet made an application, do it now. There are penalties if you continue to trade without approval.

Do you buy alcohol to sell to others?

From the 1st April 2017, if you buy alcohol from a UK supplier to sell, you must check that your supplier has been registered and approved by the HMRC. Ask your supplier to tell you their AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN); they will also show the URN on their invoices.

If you are a trade buyer or wholesaler, you will be able to use an online look-up service of approved wholesalers to check that the wholesalers you buy from are registered. HMRC will provide an online service of approved wholesalers from the 1st April 2017. From this date you should check to make sure your supplier is approved. You should carry out this check (alongside any other checks) as often as you need, to ensure you are making alcohol purchases from an approved wholesaler – not just the first time you purchase form them. The online service and guidance will be available on the Gov.UK website.

You will need to keep records to prove you have checked your supplier is approved, so you don’t inadvertently become involved in selling duty unpaid alcohol. You will be able to print or save the details of your check.

From the 1st April 2017 it will be an offence for you to buy alcohol from an unapproved supplier. You could be liable for a penalty and have your alcohol stock seized.

Types of business that need to register

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

You’ll also have to apply if you’re supplying alcohol to other businesses for resale as one of the following:

  • a broker
  • a retailer who makes regular sales to other businesses
  • an auctioneer
  • a charity, non-profit organisation or educational establishment that produces and/or supplies alcohol to other businesses for resale

You will face penalties if you trade without approval.

You can find more information by clicking here


Contact details

  1. E:
  2. Tel: 07968 534034