The Confederation grants the right to manufacture and distil spirits to private enterprises by means of distiller's licences (Art. 3, section 1 of the Alcohol Act, AlcA). These distiller's licences are issued by the Spirits Tax Section of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA).
We distinguish between three types of private spirits producer:
The relevant subpages provide more information on each producer category.
Distilling your own spirits is very popular in Switzerland. However, it is forbidden for private individuals to own, buy or operate a still. Distilling is exclusively reserved for licensed commercial producers or contract distillers. This also applies to the production of gin involving the redistillation of duty-paid base spirit and infused botanicals (herbs and spices).
Private individuals who have high-quality spirits produced from their own or from purchased fruit should follow this checklist:
Prepare the raw ingredients
The raw ingredients should be prepared for the distilling process, i.e. washed, cut up and mashed.
Find a contract distiller
Since it is forbidden in Switzerland for private individuals to produce their own spirits, you will need to find a licensed contract distillery to turn the mash into spirits once it has finished fermenting.
Pay the tax and the distiller's fees
Spirits, whether imported or manufactured in Switzerland, are subject to tax of CHF 29 per litre of pure alcohol. For a litre of fruit spirits at 40% alcohol by volume, for example, tax of CHF 11.60 is payable. The contract distillery sends a form to the Alcohol and Tobacco Division (ATD), detailing for whom and from what raw materials it has manufactured a particular amount of distillate. The ATD then sends a bill for the tax directly to the person who requested the distillation. The distiller's fees are invoiced by the contract distillery. For more information (including factsheets and addresses), see the relevant guidelines.