The Beer duty system was developed by the Information Systems section of HM Customs and Excise as well as the North West Collection IS Projects Team with discussions taking place with the Beer Duty Seat staff.
The beer duty dataset is a record of beer duty paid in the United Kingdom and of those brewers obliged to register under Sections 41A and 47 of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and hold beer without payment of duty. In the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979, the definition of 'beer' includes ale, porter, stout, black beer and any other description of beer, including liquor sold as a description of beer, and any liquor which is made or sold as a description of beer or as a substitute for beer which is of a strength exceeding 0.5%. This includes mixtures of beer with non-alcoholic liquors, or substances where the final product strength does not exceed 5.5%. It does not include black beer made from worts at a gravity of 1200 degrees or more before fermentation and duty is not chargeable on beer that does not exceed 1.2%.
Duty is charged on beer imported into the United Kingdom or brewed in the United Kingdom. Anyone who produces or holds beer in duty suspension must be registered as a brewer. The only circumstances where exemption from registration is permitted is in the case where beer is brewed for domestic use only, and for the purposes of research or experiments in the production of beer.
Duty is based on the quantity and alcoholic strength of beer, and the rate of duty applicable when it passes the duty point. Beer becomes liable for duty once it has been produced, or when it is imported into the United Kingdom. However until 1 June 1993, duty on beer was computed on the quantity and the original gravity of worts (the still unfermented infusion of malt and other materials), or the quantity of worts of an original gravity of 1055 degrees deemed to have been brewed from the materials used.
The worts were collected in officially gauged vessels and the brewer declared quantity and gravity in a brewing book, on which the duty charge was calculated. The brewers declaration was verified by an officer who used a graduated dip rod at a particular dipping place and determined the gravity of the liquor with the use of the saccharometer. Since June 1993 beer duty has been charged on the end product i.e. on the quantity and alcoholic strength of the beer produced.
Duty on imported beer is now charged either at the time of importation or when it is cleared from a registered premises or an excise warehouse. If duty is paid on importation the total volume actually imported in litres and the alcohol by volume (ABV) expressed as a percentage to 0.1% must be shown on the import document. If the ABV is not known a sample is taken for analysis in advance of the full declaration.
HM Customs and Excise must be advised in writing at the port of importation, of the full name and address of the importer, location of the beer to be sampled and all other details. Imported beer delivered for home consumption is also subject to the same licensing control as the home product. Brewers, like distillers are required to be licensed and pay licence duty according to the amount produced. The brewer must declare the quantity of material they intend to use.