Clear Customs

Importing Wines, Beers and Spirits into the UK

When it comes to the importation of alcoholic drinks, you will have to pay excise duty on the alcohol content, regardless of which Country your drinks are being shipped from, just in the same way that excise duty is payable on Oils and Tobacco products.


Alcohol of European Origin

Most goods which originate from any member of the European Union (EU), have the luxury of not incurring any charges of duty and / or VAT when moving from one EU Country to another. That, however, does not apply to excisable goods, such as Alcohol and Tobacco products, etc.

Excise duty must be paid on all alcoholic drinks before it can be released into 'Free Circulation' for resale or any other commercial use. (The exception being when small amounts are transported by an individual for personal consumption, and is under the Personal Allowance limit).

To arrange for the Customs clearance, and payment of excise duty, you will need to employ the services of a 'REDS' Agent ('REDS' stands for: Registered Excise Dealers and Shippers). There are several about, and although your preferred agent may not be a 'REDS' agent themselves, they may have negotiated preferential rates, with an agent whom they use regularly, who is, meaning that they too will be able to arrange the clearance for you.

Having been dealing with alcohol for many years now, we have many customers for whom we do that for. We too can help you with the clearance and/or shipping of drinks from another EU Member Country. Contact our Imports Team for full details.

For more information on how REDS works, please feel free to contact a member of our Imports Team, on 0845 309 6360, or email us at: enquiries@ukimportservices.com.

Please note: If your drinks are coming to the UK from outside of the EU, then you do not need the services of a 'REDS Agent', but we can still help you with the Customs clearance.


  • Click here to read Public Notice 203 - Registered Excise Dealers and Shippers
  • Click here to read more about the AAD

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