The biggest spirits stories of 2020

14th January, 2021 by Nicola Carruthers

Call of duty

In June 2020, the spirits industry was dealt a blow when European Union (EU) member states provisionally agreed to update excise duty rules on alcohol in the EU. The move, however, excluded distillers.

The deal ensures small alcohol producers have access to a new EU‐wide certification system, providing a pathway to lower excise duty rates in the EU. The “modernised” rule will apply from 1 January 2022.

The updated rules include an increased threshold for lower‐strength beer, with reduced rates for products from 2.8% ABV to 3.5% ABV. Under the rules, small brewers are able to produce 1,000 times the amount of pure alcohol that start‐up distillers can make before full excise rates apply.

Trade body Spirits Europe said the exclusion of spirits “means the structural discrimination between different alcoholic beverage categories will further widen – to the detriment of craft distillers, product innovation and consumer choice”.

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