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SLTA News And Updates 27th August

SLTA News and Updates 27th August

Petition to extend the Eat Out to Help Out incentive. Launch of 1775 Whisky Passport, Scotland’s newest whisky club.  East Lothian’s Graham Blaikie invites you to help break the record for the world’s biggest online whisky tasting. KPMG explains VAT rate change.

Petition to extend the Eat Out to Help Out incentive

A PETITION calling for the government’s 50 per cent off meal deal to be extended beyond August has been launched in a bid to save thousands of jobs.  The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is due to end on the 31stof August and the petition calls for the scheme to be extended by another month.

The Chancellor’s scheme has been running every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout August and has served up 64million meals so far across 87,000 restaurants, according to the latest Treasury figures.

Over 10,000 people have already signed the petition to extend the scheme into September which means the government must to respond to the petition and if the figure of 100,000 petitioners is reached the Government will have to debate this in the Westminster Parliament.  To sign up to the petition click here.

Launch of 1775 Whisky Passport, Scotland’s newest whisky club  

East Lothian’s Graham Blaikie invites you to help break the record for the world’s biggest online whisky tasting.

SCOTLAND’S newest whisky club – 1775 Whisky Passport – is on a mission to break the current record for the most people viewing a whisky tasting online.

1775 Whisky Passport, founded by three Scotch afficionados – including SLTA member Graham Blaikie, owner of the multi-award-winning Mercat Grill bar and restaurant in East Lothian – will attempt to break the record on Friday, September 4 at 8.30pm.

Streaming live from the Mercat Grill in Musselburgh, the event will coincide with the official launch of 1775 Whisky Passport.

Graham and his co-founders explained:

“If you enjoy a wee dram and the idea of being involved in breaking a world record, then sign up to take part in helping break the record for ‘The Most People Viewing a Whisky Tasting Online’ on Friday, September 4 at 8.30pm, from the comfort of your own home and from anywhere across the globe – while enjoying a few wee drams yourself.

To tie in with our official launch of Scotland’s newest whisky club – 1775 Whisky Passport – we want to exceed the current record of 1,500 and double this by getting 3,000 of you whisky-loving folks signed up to break the world record with us.”

Those joining in can watch Graham and fellow club co-founder Neil Forbes broadcast live online with a special 30-minute official launch show.

There will be a tasting session where everyone can participate from home if they wish by purchasing the tasting pack in advance or simply enjoy the fun and informative chat about the specially selected whiskies. And during this, the world record will be attempted!

Graham said: “We’re so excited about our official launch and hopefully smashing a new world record. With our passion for single malt whiskies and our desire to share our love and knowledge about this wonderful drink with others, we created 1775 Whisky Passport – our new whisky club that offers so much more than just whisky tastings.

We felt there was a real space for an organisation that could bring whisky lovers together in a more fun yet still informative manner – where we treat our members like best friends and friendships evolve through our shared passion for our national drink.”

Every Friday, Graham and Neil will conduct a virtual whisky tasting at 8.30pm and hand-pick a selection of malts to explore together. We will encourage our viewers to interact with us and for those in Europe wishing to try our selected whiskies, these can be pre-purchased on our website.

Graham continued:

“And as we move out of lockdown, we plan to have good old-fashioned ‘round the table’ tastings with special guest appearances from Master Blenders, member trips to Scottish distilleries, discounts off entry and purchases at Scottish distilleries as well as money off food and drink venues across the country.

“For your £25 annual membership fee, we will also give you a 1775 whisky glass, miniature dram, and plant an oak tree on joining.”

Full details about the club, membership and the event – for which you must pre-register – can be found at

KPMG VAT explain VAT rate change

A REDUCED rate of VAT was brought in by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on July 15 which will apply to the sale of some beverages, including non and low-alcohol products, until January 12, 2021.

The following items will be subject to the reduced rate of 5%, rather than the standard rate of 20%, in the UK:

  • Food and non and low-alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption (e.g. in restaurants, cafes and pubs)
  • Hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non and low-alcoholic beverages
  • Sleeping accommodation in hotels or similar establishments, holiday accommodation, pitch fees for caravans and tents, and associated facilities
  • Admissions to some attractions that are not already eligible for the cultural VAT exemption

Non and low-alcohol drinks

By definition, the reduced VAT rate can apply to beverages which have an “alcoholic strength by volume” (ABV) of up to 1.2%. This opens the door for the reduced rate to apply to both non-alcohol and low-alcohol drinks.

Eat Out to Help Out

The application of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme also extends to non and low-alcohol drinks. This scheme entitles every customer to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal or drinks consumed at any participating restaurant, café, pub etc. The discount can be used unlimited times and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal or non and low-alcoholic drinks during August 2020 across the UK. Participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50% discount.


Where you have not already, there is a go-forward opportunity to apply the reduced rate of VAT on supplies of low-alcohol beverages to end customers for on-premises consumption. You may also be able to apply the reduced rate retrospectively, and possibly reclaim VAT, on such sales which took place from July 15, 2020 where VAT was reported at the full rate of 20%. The Eat Out to Help Out discount can be applied to low-alcohol beverages.

If you have any questions, or would like to explore the VAT reclaim opportunities, please feel free to contact VAT specialists Katie Aghabala ( and Emma Knott (

Share your news

IF you have any news that you’d like to share with fellow SLTA members, please let us know – we’re always looking for interesting stories from licensees the length and breadth of Scotland. Please email us at– we’ll feature members news in our Trade Talk newsletter and on our website.

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