Destroying spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out about temporary changes to the destruction of spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine if you're a brewer, cider producer, wine maker or publican.

HMRC has introduced a temporary measure to help in the destruction of spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine during coronavirus for:

  • brewers
  • cider producers
  • wine or made-wine makers
  • publicans

Normally the destruction of alcohol must be supervised by a responsible person from the brewery, cider producer or winery. Due to social distancing requirements this is currently difficult to follow.

Who can destroy spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine

You can now appoint the publican or an agreed person at the premises to carry out the destruction of spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine. An Authorised Company Representative (ACR) does not need to be present.

You must follow health and safety conditions and agree this with the person carrying out the destruction.

Additional guidance for publicans destroying spoilt beer

Spoilt beer should be managed by following the food and drink waste hierarchy, with disposal to the sewer considered as the last option. Publicans should seek permission from the owning brewer before making arrangements to return, re-purpose or dispose of beer.

Where a risk assessment shows that it is safe to remove full containers of beer from the premises, disposal to the sewer should be avoided and other options for management of spoilt beer should be used. For example, spoilt beer may be re-purposed as an addition to animal feed, contact James McCulloch at the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) for more information on how to supply spoilt beer directly to farms.

Where re-purposing of beer is not possible, publicans should contact their water company who will provide instructions on how to safely dispose of beer into public sewers. Applications to water companies can be made individually by a publican or on behalf of multiple sites by the operating company. It is important to choose only one approach as duplication will cause further delay to the approval process.

How long will the change apply

This temporary change will apply while coronavirus social distancing restrictions remain in place.

HMRC will give at least 30 days’ notice before withdrawing these temporary measures.

What you need to do

You must continue to keep:

  • an audit trail confirming destruction of duty-paid beer, cider, wine or made-wine
  • evidence of a full credit of the duty paid, or replacement of the goods to your customer or the owner of the goods at the time they became spoilt
  • a spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine record

Evidence we need

If you claim the relief you must be satisfied that destruction has taken place and keep suitable evidence. For example, evidence can be in the form of a video. The agreed person at the premises can record this and give this to the brewer, cider producer or wine and made-wine maker for their records.

Adjusting your monthly returns


You can adjust your monthly returns and calculate the duty you owe on form EX46.

Cider and wine or made-wine producers

You can adjust your monthly returns and calculate the duty you owe on form EX606 if you are a:

Further information

Find out more about the effects of the law and regulations covering the production, storage and accounting of duty on:

Published 30 March 2020
Last updated 26 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. Additional guidance has been added for publicans destroying spoilt beer.

  2. We have added a Welsh language translation.

  3. We have amended temporary measures to include cider, wine or made-wine in addition to beer. This includes advice to cider producers and wine and made-wine makers in addition to brewers and publicans.

  4. Guidance about what you need to do as a brewer has been updated.

  5. First published.