From April 1st all alcohol retailers must check they are buying from a registered wholesaler and FWD is leading the drive to make sure they understand their new responsibilities.
Under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) anyone purchasing alcohol from a wholesaler must check their source has been accessed by HMRC and registered as a fit and proper trader. Approved wholesalers will be issued with a registration number, and customers must check this against an online listing at www.gov.uk.
However, with time running out before the April 1 deadline, many licence holders are still in the dark about their new obligations. From that date they could be liable for prosecution if they buy from unregistered wholesalers, with penalties ranging from loss of their alcohol licence to heavy fines and imprisonment.
FWD Chief Executive James Bielby said: “We need the help of beer, wines and spirits suppliers and wholesalers to make sure their customers know about the new rules."
FWD has issued a poster warning cash and carry customers of the new law. It is also meeting Ministers and Government officials to ensure HMRC communicates the changes to alcohol purchasers. FWD members have written to their MPs asking
them to push for effective publicity about the new obligations.