Guidance

Alcoholic liquids (Tariff notice 23)

Changes to the Tariff on 2 alcoholic liquids to be used for the production of cocktails and as a base in the formulation of alcoholic beverages.

A new regulation was published on 6 June 2019.

This is considered a change in UK practice.

New regulation for a product consisting of an alcoholic liquid with an alcoholic strength by volume of 4% to 6%

A product consisting of an alcoholic liquid with an alcoholic strength by volume of 4% to 6%.

It is produced by mixing a fermented apple juice with distilled ethyl alcohol, carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, flavourings, a preservative agent (E 202), caffeine and colouring agents (E 102, E 124).

The addition of distilled ethyl alcohol to the fermented apple juice increases its alcoholic strength: 62,05 litres of fermented apple juice at 18% vol. (11,17 litres of alcohol) are mixed with 37,95 litres of distilled ethyl alcohol at 28,28% vol. (10,73 litres of alcohol). The fermented alcohol component in the product accounts for 51% and the distilled alcohol accounts for 49% of the total alcohol content.

Τhe resulting mixture is diluted to a drinking strength of 4% to 6% vol. by adding carbonated water. Sugar, citric acid, a preservative agent (E 202), caffeine, colouring agents (E 102, E 124) and flavourings (for instance mango, rum, passion fruit or port) are added as well.

The product is presented to be used for the production of cocktails. The smell and taste are alcoholic, acidic and sweet.

The product is for human consumption and is put up for retail sale in containers holding 2 litres or less.

Classification (Combined Nomenclature (CN) code)

2208 90 69

Reason

Classification is determined by general rules 1 and 6 for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature and the wording of CN codes 2208 , 2208 90 and 2208 90 69.

The product is an alcoholic beverage that has not retained the character of a product falling under heading 2206 (see also the Harmonized System Explanatory Notes to heading 2206 , third paragraph) as the added substances have led to a loss of the properties and characteristics of a fermented apple juice.

The fact that the distilled alcohol does not exceed, either in volume or percentage, 49% of the alcohol present in the product, with the remaining 51% resulting from a process of fermentation, is not a classification criterion as there is no majority rule by percentages that determines the character of products of heading 2206.

Consequently, classification under heading 2206 is excluded as the product shows objective characteristics similar to those of a spirituous beverage and not anymore those obtained by fermentation of a specific fruit or plant.

The product is therefore to be classified under CN code 2208 90 69 as other spirituous beverage in containers holding 2 litres or less.

New regulation for a product consisting of an alcoholic liquid with an alcoholic strength by volume of 15%

A product consisting of an alcoholic liquid with an alcoholic strength by volume of 15%.

It is produced by fermenting a sugar beet extract, consisting by weight of 93,4% sucrose (96,7% sucrose in dry matter), protein, trace minerals, fibre and water.

The fermentation process is achieved by the addition of water and yeast, and it proceeds until an alcohol content of 15% has been reached. The yeast is then removed by sedimentation and microfiltration. The product has no specific smell and taste except that of alcohol.

The product is intended to be used as a base in the formulation of alcoholic beverages.

It is presented in bulk.

Classification (Combined Nomenclature (CN) code)

2208 90 99

Reason

Classification is determined by general rules 1 and 6 for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature and the wording of CN codes 2208 , 2208 90 and 2208 90 99.

Sugar beet extract is neutral raw sugar and therefore the product cannot have the taste, smell and/or appearance of a beverage produced from a particular fruit or natural product. Consequently, it has not obtained the characteristics of a product falling under heading 2206 but acquired those of ethyl alcohol of heading 2208.

The product, which is obtained through processing a fermented sugar beet extract and is intended to be used as a base in the formulation of alcoholic beverages, being neutral in terms of colour, smell and taste as a result of purification (including microfiltration), falls therefore under heading 2208.

The product is therefore to be classified under CN code 2208 90 99 as other undenaturated ethyl alcohol in containers holding more than 2 litres.

Contact details

Tariff Classification
Customs Directorate
10th Floor South East
Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend-on-Sea
Essex SS99 1AA

Email: tariff.classification@hmrc.gov.uk

This Tariff notice is published for information purposes only.

Published 18 June 2019