It may be necessary for those who sell alcohol to another business to seek approval under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (‘the AWRS scheme’).

John Veale of Kangs Solicitors outlines the position.

The AWRS Scheme | Kangs Regulatory Advisory Solicitors


The AWRS scheme was introduced by HMRC to combat alcohol fraud resulting in losses in duty and Vat estimated to be in the region of £1.2 billion per year.

The AWRS scheme requires that:

  • all UK based businesses selling alcohol to other businesses need to apply for AWRS scheme approval
  • when purchasing alcohol with an intent to sell onwards, the purchaser is required to ensure that the seller is approved and possesses an AWRS scheme reference number.
  • this reference number should be displayed on any invoices but the purchaser must also obtain verification that the registration remains valid via an on-line service which is available.


Application for approval must be made at least forty five days before the commencement of trade, proper business planning/systems must be in place to ensure compliance and the AWRS scheme affects any business:

  • which sells or arranges the sale of alcohol from any UK premises,
  • sales are made at or after the point when excise duty is payable,
  • where sales made to other businesses for onward supply or sale,
  • that supplies alcohol to another business for re-sale.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the AWRS scheme could lead to the imposition of:

  • a maximum fine of £10,000 and/or
  • a prison sentence of up 7 years together with
  • forfeiture of the alcohol.

How Can We Help You? | Kangs Regulatory Offences Solicitors

Kangs Regulatory Offences team is experienced in assisting clients in connection with regulatory matters of all kinds.

If you become the subject of any investigation by HMRC or other Regulatory body then please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following:

Hamraj Kang
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

John Veale
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

Suki Randhawa
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396