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Excise on repackaged beer

How to apply excise duty when you repackage commercial beer.

Last updated 27 June 2023

Repackaged beer

Packaging isn't a manufacturing process for excise purposes. However, manufacturing beer has an extended meaning to cover when you repackage beer that was previously entered at a concessional rate.

An exemption to this applies to the first 10,000 litres of beer repackaged at particular premises where the:

  • beer is repackaged into exempt beer containers for the purposes of retail sale
  • retail sale occurs immediately after repackaging.

For businesses that repackage beer at more than one premises, each premises is subject to its own threshold in terms of the volume of repackaged beer.

An exempt beer container is:

  • a sealed individual container
  • no more than 2 litres
  • not pressurised.

The rate of excise duty that applies to commercial beer is based on the:

  • alcoholic strength of the beer
  • size and design of the container you package it in.

For more information on alcohol terms, see Alcohol excise and key terms.

When you won't need a manufacturer licence

There are 3 situations when you won't need a manufacturer licence and won't incur a second amount of excise duty on the same beer:

  • where the beer has had duty paid on it at a non-concessional rate, and then you repackage it into another sealed container
  • if you obtain an excise storage licence to hold or acquire the bulk beer underbond – the duty is then payable at the higher packaged rate when you fill the smaller, sealed containers
  • the exemption applies to you, and you do not repackage more than 10,000 litres in a financial year.

When you need a manufacturer licence

You‘ll need a manufacturer licence if you repackage beer that has previously been entered at a concessional rate into individual sealed containers that are:

  • less than 8 litres
  • 8 – 48 litres (inclusive), where the container is not designed to connect to a pressurised gas or pump delivery system or other prescribed system

You require a licence when you have reached the 10,000 litre exemption, or do not qualify for the exemption.

You will be responsible for lodging an excise return and paying the excise duty on the repackaged beer, (or where the exemption applies, on any repackaged beer over 10,000 litres), based on the applicable rates of excise duty. Any duty paid on the beer at a concessional rate prior to the repackaging is not refundable. If you hold an excise licence you will need to lodge a return and pay excise duty before you deliver excisable alcohol into the Australian domestic market.

Different rules apply to beer entered for home consumption before 1 July 2019.

For help completing this licence application, see Application for a licence to manufacture alcohol.

As an excise licence holder, you need to keep the records required by your licence. For more information, see Record keeping for excisable alcohol.

For more information on definitions, see ER 2012/1 Excise: the meaning of the expression 'manufactured or produced' for the purposes of the Excise Acts.