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:
- cider producers
- wine or made-wine makers
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 do.
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 does not need to be present.
You must follow health and safety conditions and agree this with the person carrying out the destruction.
More 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. You should seek permission from the owning brewer before making arrangements to return, re-purpose or dispose of beer.
If a risk assessment shows that it is safe to remove full containers of beer from the premises you should avoid disposal using the sewer, 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 - for more information on how to supply spoilt beer directly to farms, contact James McCulloch at the Agricultural Industries Confederation, by email: James.McCulloch@agindustries.org.uk
- a feed for anaerobic digestion - for more information on how to supply spoilt beer directly to anaerobic digestion plant operators, contact:
- Jenny Grant at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, by email: email@example.com
- Sam Hinton at the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association, email: Sam.Hinton@adbioresources.org
Where re-purposing of beer is not possible you should contact your water company. They will provide instructions on how to safely dispose of beer into public sewers.
Applications to water companies can either be made:
- individually by you, as a publican
- by the operating company for more than one site
If you and your operating company make duplicate applications your request may be delayed.
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 it 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:
Get more information
Find out more about the effects of the law and regulations covering the production, storage and accounting of duty on:
Last updated 14 July 2020 + show all updates
Information about how spoilt beer can be re-purposed has been updated.
Additional guidance has been added for publicans destroying spoilt beer.
We have added a Welsh language translation.
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.
Guidance about what you need to do as a brewer has been updated.