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29 April 2021 | Comment | Article by Martin Jones

Offering cocktail takeaways or deliveries? You must have a compounder’s licence

The business of alcohol deliveries, including pre-mixed drinks/cocktails, has flourished during lockdown due in part to the temporary covid deregulation authorising of sales where it wasn’t already allowed.

If you sell drinks/cocktails that you mix on your licensed premises to customers for consumption off the premises you could attract the attention of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for selling pre-mixed drinks/cocktails without a compounder’s licence.

If you distinctly alter the character or flavour of a spirit with another substance, other than water, but don’t use a still to do so, you need a compounder’s licence. This is necessary even if you have a premises licence which permits off-sales.

This doesn’t include drinks mixed solely for consumption on licensed premises nor does it apply to unmixed spirits sold for mixing at home.

Anyone selling pre-mixed drinks/cocktails is advised to seek a compounder’s licence from HMRC without delay or risk fines being levied. Read the details on this and apply for a compounder’s licence.

If you need any help in relation to your licence, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Author bio

Martin Jones


As the Head of the Regulatory Department, Martin acts in a wide-range of regulatory crime and professional regulation matters. Martin has built up over 20 years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

He leads the firm’s cross-departmental alcohol and gaming licensing teams. Additionally Martin manages the teams providing a range of outsourced services to local authorities, including court representation of local authorities Adult and Children’s Services Departments.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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