New EU rules are causing confusion, the WSTA says

New EU rules are causing confusion, the WSTA says

UK drinks producers are facing “serious confusion” over new European Union rules affecting the classification of ready-to-drink products, according to a trade group in the country.

Recent changes to EU custom and excise rules mean that some RTD products - including those made with cream and some cocktail drinks – could be reclassified from a made-wine to a spirit. Products re-classified as a spirit will face an increase in duty and VAT, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). 

“This latest change from the EU means that the dividing line between a product being classified as made-wine or being re-classified as a spirit is now very fine,” said Miles Beale, the WSTA's chief executive. “The proposals are causing serious confusion for our members' businesses.” 

Beale said that WSTA members are seeking clarification from the UK's HM Revenue & Customs over how their products will be classified. Producers will tell retailers and consumers of any price changes “as quickly as possible”, he added.  

Meanwhile, the WSTA also today welcomed a government study revealing a cut in dangerous levels of drinking among adults in England and Wales. Beale said the report showed that "significant progress is being made in tackling binge and harmful drinking in the UK".