This document is for information only, no liability is accepted for the contents. You should always check with Customs and Excise for the most up to date information before proceeding – remember, to contravene their regulations is a criminal offence.
UK tax regulations allow anyone (company or private individual) to sell up to 70 hectolitres (1,540 UK gallons) of cider or perry each year without having to pay duty. Many smaller producers take advantage of this regulation, and now homebrewers can do so too. One of the first to delve into the realm of selling his homebrewed cider was CAMRA regular, Roy Bailey who nows sells his own cider made from apples produced by his one and only Dabinette apple tree growing in his back garden. He trades under the title Lambourne Valley Cider.
So how do you go about registering? Well firstly look up your local Customs and Excise office in the telephone directory. Ring them up and ask for a copy of Notice 162. This document will detail all of the requirements you will need to fulfill to become a registered producer and even includes an application form. Remember that the Customs and Excise people are there to dispense advice as well as enforce the law – you will find their help invaluable.
You will also need to register with the local planning office and contact your trading standards office and environmental health office to find out any peculiarities of local regulations before going ahead with your production. Don’t be put off – it is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds.
If you live in the Three Counties cidermaking region (Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire) you can apply for a PGI certificate. PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication and is the British equivalent to the French Apellation Controlee status. To qualify you must source all of your apples from within these counties, the apples must be bittersweets and you must use freshly pressed juice, not concentrates. Details can be obtained from the Three Counties Cidermakers’ Association.
All you need to do now is to sell your produce. Contact your favourite local pub, you may well find that they can sell more than you can produce. And last of all, Good Luck!