Cooking wine and other cooking alcohol (Excise information sheet 2)

Find out the changes for businesses involved in making or moving cooking wine or other cooking alcohol to or from the UK.


Cooking wine is wine with added seasoning. HMRC has treated cooking wines of a strength of 5% alcohol by volume (abv) or less, as exempt from excise duty. But a review of this practice has concluded that this view has no legal basis and so we must change our practice.

With effect from 1 January 2018, excise duty will be due on all cooking wines with a strength of more than 1.2% abv. This will also apply to any other form of cooking alcohol.

Businesses may continue to apply the current treatment until 1 January 2018. This is to allow a transition period for businesses to adjust to the change and is in line with transition periods allowed for changes to Tariff Classifications.

Action to be taken

We’ll amend our practice from 1 January 2018. Any cooking wine or other cooking alcohol products of a strength more than 1.2% abv which are released for consumption or pass any duty point will be liable to excise duty.

If the alcohol is later used in a food product and the criteria for Alcoholic Ingredients Relief can be met, you may claim a refund of this excise duty.


If you have any questions about this Excise information sheet, contact the Alcohol Policy Team by email: or ring the Excise enquiries helpline on 0300 200 3700.

Issued on 28 July 2017 by the Alcohol Policy Team - Indirect Tax Directorate.

Published 28 July 2017