The Turnbull Government has delivered on its 2016-17 Budget commitment to provide targeted support to small Australian alcohol producers who distil or ferment alcoholic drinks.

From 1 July 2017, distillers can access a refund of 60 per cent of excise paid up to $30,000 per financial year. The excise must have been paid on or after 1 July 2017 in order to access the refund.

This measure extends the excise refund scheme already in place for craft brewers. It will assist the domestic distillery industry to innovate and grow.

Australian distillers are leaders in their field. Over 100 domestic distillers will benefit from a refund of excise - producers of whisky, vodka, gin and liqueur as well as producers of low strength fermented beverages such as non-traditional cider.

This measure creates a more even playing field by assisting artisan distillers to compete with wine producers who benefit from the WET rebate scheme as well as craft brewers.

To be eligible for the excise refund, distillers must be legally and economically independent of any other entity that is an alcohol manufacturer that has received a refund of excise under the refund scheme. They must also have fermented or distilled at least 70 per cent by volume of the alcohol content of the alcoholic beverage. For refunds of excise paid on distilled alcoholic beverages, the distiller must have a still and satisfy the still ownership test.

The scheme will not be extended to alcopop producers who merely purchase the spirits and add the soda and other flavours, or to wine producers who benefit from the WET rebate.

Irvine Melissa