Bureaucracy Rule the Brews

One outcome of opening a company was that I had to apply for a new brewer’s license. I know it sounds like a cliche, but Ginger Tipple was all in my wife’s name, and I now had to move it to the company.

Shifra and I made an appointment with the customs office and custom’s auditor notified us that he will also be at the meeting. The auditor was sick, so fortunately the audit was pushed off indefinitely.

First, you cannot transfer the license, I have to apply for a new one and close the old one – read, go through all the form filling and bureaucratic delays, pay the EUR 1,000 deposit for the new license and then whistle for the repayment of the deposit on the old license.

Second, if that was all … I received a lesson on the paperwork required to monitor the brewing processes. I have to send a form to two different email addresses notifying customs 48 hour in advance of actually brewing. They need to know how many liters etc. The form still has a date format of __/__/19__ which gives you an idea of how modern their paperwork is.

Then I have to complete a spreadsheet for each stage of the brewing, from raw ingredients to vat to tank to bottle. Massive breweries like Stella Artois must employ somebody full-time just to fill and send out the 48 advance notifications and complete the spreadsheets for them.

Oh! Don’t forget the online weekly reporting of sales with accompanying payments which never seems to work properly.

I had pity on the lovely ladies at the Antwerp customs who tried to help. They have the onerous task of wading through all these forms and notices and sales reports and license applications etc., but they don’t have the brewer’s satisfaction of drinking a wonderful pint at the end of the paperwork (which never ends…)

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