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  • Beer

    Beer is generally subject to excise duty and you need an excise licence to manufacture it.

    If you make home-brewed beer for non-commercial purposes, using non-commercial equipment, you don't need an excise licence and don't need to pay excise duty.

    Beer is a beverage that is brewed and:

    • is the product of the yeast fermentation of an aqueous extract of predominantly malted or unmalted cereals, but may also contain other sources of carbohydrates
    • contains hops, or extracts of hops, or other bitters so that the beverage has no less than four international bitterness units (or comparable bitterness if it uses other bitters)
    • may have spirit distilled from beer added to it, but only if that spirit increases the final total volume of alcohol by no more than 0.5%
    • may have other substances (including flavours) added to it, but only if substances containing alcohol (other than beer spirit) do not increase the final total volume of alcohol by more than 0.5%
    • contains no more than 4% by weight of sugars (monosaccharide and disaccharide)
    • does not contain any artificial sweeteners
    • has an alcohol content of more than 1.15% by volume.

    You should be able to establish whether your product meets the definition of beer for excise purposes from your manufacturing specifications and processes and from standard industry information.

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    See also:

    Last modified: 04 Jan 2016QC 47664