Import Services

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.

Customs Tariff Classification

As is the same with any other products, when it comes to researching about importing alcohol in to the UK, it is firstly advisable to familiarize yourself with the way in which different alcoholic beverages are classified for Customs purposes in the UK Customs Tariff.

Chapter 22 of the Customs Tariff, covers ‘BEVERAGES, SPIRITS AND VINEGAR’, and is initially divided as follows:

2203 Beer made from malt

  • 2203 00 01 - In containers holding 10 litres or less
  • 2203 00 10 - In containers holding more than 10 litres

When it comes to the rate of excise duty on Beer, you will need to know the annual production, as indicated in the table below:

Large brewery with an annual production of 60,000 Hectolitres or more

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Up to 1.2%431£0.00 - nil
Between 1.2% and 2.8%446 £8.42
Between 2.8% and 7.5%473 £19.08
Exceeding 7.5% - High Strength Surcharge 447 £5.69

Micro brewery with an annual production of less than 5,000 Hectolitres

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Up to 1.2%431£0.00 - nil
Between 1.2% and 2.8%446 £8.42
Exceeding 2.8%443 £9.54
If exceed. 7.5% - High Strength Surcharge 447 £5.69

Small sized brewery with an annual production of more than 5,000 Hectolitres but less han 60,000 HL

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Up to 1.2%431£0.00 - nil
Between 1.2% and 2.8%446 £8.42
Exceeding 2.8% and 7.5%441 £variable
If exceed. 7.5% - High Strength Surcharge 447 £5.69

* the rates shown above are as per the new rates implemented on the 13th March 2017, and are based on the percentage of alcohol

2204 Wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines; grape must other than that of heading 2009

  • 2204 10 - Sparkling wine
  • 2204 21 - Other wine; grape must with fermentation prevented or arrested by the addition of alcohol
  • 2204 30 - Other grape must

2205 Vermouth and other wine of fresh grapes flavoured with plants or aromatic substances

  • 2205 10 - In containers holding 2 litres or less
  • 2205 90 - Other

Low Alcohol Drinks - These rates apply to both Sparkling & Still

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Up to 1.2%431£0.00 - nil
Between 1.2% and 4.0%433 £0.8893
Between 4.0% and 5.5%435 £1.2230

Wine - Sparkling

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Between 5.5% and 8.5%412 £2.6899
Between 8.5% and 15.0%411 £3.5587

Wine - Still

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Between 5.5% and 15.0%413 £2.8865

Wine - Still or Sparkling

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Between 15.0% and 22.0%415 £3.8482
Exceeding 22.0%419£see below

Wine & Made Wine - Sparkling

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Between 5.5% and 8.5%422 £2.7946
Between 8.5% and 15.0%421 £3.6972

Made Wine - Still

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Between 5.5% and 15.0%423 £2.8865

Made Wine - Still or Sparkling

Drink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Between 15.0% and 22.0%425 £3.7041
Exceeding 22.0%429£see below

*the rates shown above are as per the new rates implemented on the 21st March 2016, and are based per Litre of Wine or Made-Wine

Made Wine - Still or Sparkling

Type of DrinkDrink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
WineExceeding 22.0%419 £27.66
Made WineExceeding 22.0%429 £27.66

*the rates shown above are as per the new rates implemented on the 21st March 2016, and are based per Litre of Alcohol

2206 Other fermented beverages (for example, cider, perry, mead); mixtures of fermented beverages and mixtures of fermented beverages and non-alcoholic beverages, not elsewhere specified or included

  • 2206 00 10 - Piquette
  • 2206 00 31 - Other
Type of DrinkDrink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Cider and Perry Up to 1.2%431£0.00 - no excise duty payable on low-strength Cider or Perry
Sparkling Cider and PerryBetween 1.2 and 5.5%481 £0.3887
Sparkling Cider and PerryBetween 5.5 and 8.5%485 £2.6899
Still Cider and PerryBetween 1.2 and 7.5%481 £0.3887
Still Cider and PerryBetween 7.5 and 8.5%483 £0.5875
Cider and PerryExceeding 8.5%435
(classed as Made-Wine)
£see above

*the rates shown above are as per the new rates implemented on the 21st March 2016, and are based per Litre of Cider or Perry

Please Note : Only pure apple cider or pure pear cider is classed as 'Cider'. Any/all other cider which is coloured or flavoured, is classed as 'Made-Wine' and is subject to a higher rare of excise duty under tax code [435].

2207 Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of 80% vol or higher; ethyl alcohol and other spirits, denatured, of any strength

  • 2207 10 - Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of 80 % vol or higher
  • 2207 20 - Ethyl alcohol and other spirits, denatured, of any strength

2208 Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 80% vol; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages

  • 2208 30 - Whiskies
  • 2208 40 - Rum and other spirits obtained by distilling fermented sugar-cane products
  • 2208 50 - Gin and Geneva
  • 2208 60 - Vodka
  • 2208 70 - Liqueurs and cordials
  • 2208 90 - Other
Type of DrinkDrink Strength
(ABV%)
Tax CodeRate of Excise Due*
Spirits
(Incl. Spirit-based drinks)
Between 1.2% and 8.0%438 £27.66
Spirits
(Incl. Spirit-based drinks)
Exceeding 8.0%451 £27.66

*the rates shown above are as per the new rates implemented on the 21st March 2016, and are based per Litre of Alcohol


Further sub-divisions do apply on top of the above descriptions. Either Click Here to view our dedicated web page, to find the correct classification code for your particular goods being imported, or email the Customs Classification team at: classification.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk


Alcohol of European Origin

Most goods which originate from any member European of the EU, have the luxury of not incurring any charges of duty and / or VAT. 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, meaning that they too will be able to arrange the clearance for you.

We 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 : services of a 'REDS Agent', but we can still help you with the Customs clearance.

The old paper system (AAD) & the new EMCS System (e-AD)

Before January 2011, it used to be common place for alcoholic beverages which were being shipped to the UK, from another Member EC State, be accompanied by an AAD (Administritive Accompanying Document) Form, but this has since been updated into a digital format, and computerised on the EMCS computer system. If your goods are shipped from the EC, duty suspended, then your supplier will now need to registered on the European-wide EMCS computer system, creating an e-AD record of the movement of your drinks, for each shipment.

Please note : Even though this is only a requirement to duty suspended drinks, UK Customs prefers that even those shipments which are 'duty pre-paid' to be entered onto the EMCS system.

How to calculate excise duty

The way in which you calculate excise duty on alcoholic drinks, varies depending on the type of drink, which you are looking to import.

For assistance with the calculation of excise duty, or if you just want more information on on this or any other topic, please contact our Imports Team on: (T) 0845 309 6360, or email your enquiry to: enquiries@ukimportservices.com.


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