Nettle beer brewer stung in tax battle

A CORNISH microbrewery is battling tax inspectors for survival as its tries to recoup £10,000 of backdated revenue because it allegedly wrongly sold one of its creations as a beer.

Foodswild Brewery, which is based in Helston, Cornwall, began selling Cornish Stingers, which is brewed using using Cornish nettle tips, in 2009. But after visiting the brewery’s premises HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) penalised the brewer by impounding all of its stocks of the product for examination in November 2010, reported.

HMRC returned the stocks in May 2011, just 10 days before their sell-by-date but is demanding that the brewery pay for an excise licence and the backdated higher rate of tax, reported.

That represents an extra 10p a bottle sold, for what HMRC claims should have been classified as wine because it was not brewed with malt.

The taxman has given the brewery less than 40 days to respond. Foodswild owner and founder Miles Lavers said the tax dispute had stopped him from launching similar products such as dandelion beer and had forced him to temporarily freeze operations.

HMRC declined to comment, said.

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