The British Distillers Alliance (BDA) has praised a government decision to discontinue the spirits duty stamps scheme, as confirmed in last week’s Spring Budget. 

The scheme, which applies to spirits with an abv of over 30% in bottles of 35cl and more, requires producers to affix a duty stamp to packaging or include one on their labelling. It was introduced in 2006 in an effort to prevent fraud, but this has been disputed by the drinks industry. 

Alan Powell, founder of the BDA, explained: “The duty stamps regime introduced in 2006 was always controversial because there had been no fraud in spirits of any significance for almost ten years prior to the law being passed.”

After campaigning to bring an end to the scheme as a result of the added complexities it has brought about for spirits producers, the BDA has applauded the announcement of its eradication.

Powell said: “The announcement is excellent news for the entire spirits sector and follows our intense campaigning for this measure. The scheme never had any legitimacy from the outset and in recent years our members have been concerned by the lack of clarity in law about duty-stamped empty bottles being re-filled.”

BDA members have also welcomed the news, with Kathy Caton, managing director of Brighton Gin, saying that “the abolition of the duty stamp scheme will improve our productivity and simplify our operations”.

Andrew Parsons, co-founder of Sky Wave Distilling Company, added: “This totally unnecessary scheme, fabricated by HMRC, adds nothing but cost and complexity to an already besieged industry. Its abolition is entirely appropriate.”