As negotiations on EU Directive 92/83/EEC on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages continue, a political agreement between Member States in the Council may be within reach soon. However, the file should not be closed without creating provisions that will ensure that small, independent distillers can benefit from similar opportunities for growth and from comparable reduced excise rates as the ones in place for small brewers.
So far, a huge discrepancy exists in terms of the tax treatment of small distillers when compared to small brewers: small brewers can produce up to 1,000 times the amount of pure alcohol than what start-up distillers can produce before full excise rates start to apply. The ongoing revision of the EU Excise Structures Directive presents a unique, timely opportunity to address this unfair situation.
Why not support the vibrant SME community in our sector and extend the benefits already provided to small beer producers to craft distillers? Such a move would send out a strong, timely and welcome signal of support, particularly as parts of the sector are dealing with the challenge of 25% tariffs imposed in October by the US.