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Alcohol Destruction methods suitable for HRMC in the UK


Due to a recent process error on my part I have 60 litres of duty suspended "Gin" that is unsuitable for sale.

I spoke to my friendly HMRC contact and they pointed me to an article that says I need to inform them how I intend to destroy the duty suspended goods 2 days in advance if on my premises. Also that they may wish to attend the destruction.

Does anyone have any experience with this subject? i.e. how do you safely destroy alcohol. it is approximately 50% abv at the moment.

I would think I cant just water it down and tip it down the drain.


  • Get some friends over and pour it down the drains.

  • That's what my missus said, it's drinkable but far too citrus forward due to my greed.

    unfortunately HMRC would like to see a more suitable destruction method. I would just tip it in the drain but it can't be allowed/legal.

  • Why wouldn’t you blend it with a distillation containing no citrus to balance?

  • Turn it back into neutral?

  • I have been considering making a "neutral Gin" that is basically medium levels of Juniper Corinander and cardomon as a Neutral gin to blend with a batch that came out a bit to heavy on one botanical to balance it out as Grim recommends. I will try it after I am doing with my Quinoa bourbon and my floral gin.

  • The beauty of distillation is, in most cases, if you make a boo boo you get a do-over. Run it again.

    Hops flavor is about the only flavor I've found that you cannot get rid of by re-running it.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I have a 1.2m 3" column filled with spp, just didn't think it would strip it

  • thing is, i want to produce a consistent product. if i start blending and moving away from my protocol I then risk ruining more batches..

    if i strip it takes a long time and my time is worth more than the NGS used to produce it..

    soo does anyone have any experience in suitable destruction methods?

  • Give it to the HRMC contact. Or as an alternative go to a couple of Aussie pubs tell them you have 60 of booze you need drunk, get the HRMC around, unleash the aussies on the booze and in about 2 hours no problem. At least until you have to deal with 60 or so drunk aussies. At least this is an alternative. I know what you mean about lemon though my first run at a london dry I used lemon peel. Only had about 3 cm2 and it was really over powering.

  • edited December 2018

    Generally 4 options for "destruction".

    1. Pay an approved third party to come and take it, destroy it, and provide paperwork around the destruction. These companies will usually deposit a drum at your location, and swap drums at regular intervals. Tends to be expensive, as this is treated as hazardous waste.

    2. Dilute to a level that is acceptable to your local sewerage authority and dump it down the drain. Document this activity and keep your own records, etc. This may not be acceptable at all in your area.

    3. Transfer it to an alcohol recovery company, there may be additional paperwork to recover taxes. Based on the volume, you'll likely still need to pay them to take it.

    4. You may be able to denature it and transfer it away. This may require additional paperwork, documentation of the denaturing procedure, and transfer to an acceptable use. Taking it home yourself is typically not acceptable, waste alcohol for destruction is going to be considered hazardous waste, and handled in a manner similar to other hazardous wastes.

  • That's kind of what I considered my options. I have asked for a quote for haz waste disposal. I will look further into dilution.

  • Depends where you are. If you're in Scotland ask SEPA for an approved method such as pouring it down the drain. Some volumes/strengths/ph's will be acceptable depending on location. 60 litres in the grand scheme of things is not that much. Secondly, ask Bifa for a price for denaturing and/or anaerobic digestion. This is an approved HMRC method. just remember to do a notice of destruction to HMRC and keep evidence.

  • I take it you do you have a rectifiers licence and excise warehouse approval to hold duty suspended spirits?

  • I do have the license. I have already contacted bifa so it's good to know I am on the right track.

    I have however fired an email to HMRC to say I will dilute and dump in the drain.. let's see what they say.

    I will produce an internal document and record/retain.

    Thanks for the feedback it's appreciated.

  • Bifa wont be cheap, so if you can get permission from a local environmental agency to dump down the drain that will be fine. HMRC don't normally have much to say about it so don't expect them to approve that method, they just want to see it documented.

  • edited December 2018

    Same with TTB in the US, they specifically avoid prescribing destruction methods because it could conflict with other local or national laws, especially environmental laws and regulation.

    There are plenty of places where watering down and dumping down the drain or on the dirt is absolutely illegal, at any concentration.

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