Growlers and repackaging duty paid beer
The duty payable on beer depends on its alcoholic strength and the size of the container in which the beer is packaged. The duty for beer in containers over 48 litres is less than for beer in containers of 48 litres and under. To ensure the relevant rate applies, the repackaging of duty paid beer is subject to additional rules.
If beer has been packaged in an individual container over 48 litres and has had duty paid on it, repackaging that beer into sealed individual containers not exceeding 48 litres (that is, into containers 48 litres and under) is treated as the manufacture of beer.
For example, containers (often called growlers) may be filled from a keg and sealed for a customer to take away or consume on the premises. This may happen in a craft brewery, or where the particular beer is not available in bottles.
If you intend to repackage duty paid bulk beer in this way you must hold an excise manufacturer licence. There are penalties for undertaking excise manufacture without a licence.
You will be responsible for the excise duty payable again on the repackaged beer, based on the rates of duty for individual containers not exceeding 48 litres (which is higher than the rate for beer in containers exceeding 48 litres). The initial duty paid on the beer is not refundable.
However, an entity will not need a manufacturer licence and will not incur a second amount of duty on the same beer if it either:
- decants beer from a container that only holds 48 litres or less (for example, from 30 litre kegs which have had the higher rate of duty applied)
- obtains an excise storage licence to hold or acquire the bulk beer under bond (that is, without the duty being paid on the beer); the duty is then payable at the higher packaged rate when the smaller sealed containers are filled.
An explanation of growlers and the excise obligations associated with supplying beer in growlers.