Guidance

Hops and hop products marketing standards

Marketing standards for hops producers, manufacturers, retailers and distributors.

Hops and hop products produced in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

Certification centres issue hops certificates for hops and hop products produced in Great Britain.

Certification requirements for hops and hop products

Hops and hop products that have been grown or processed in Great Britain must be certified by an approved certification centre in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1850/2006 and Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013. This is because both regulations apply in GB.

These rules relate to all hops grown in Great Britain and hop products processed in Great Britain, including:

  • hop cones
  • pellets
  • powder
  • saps and extracts of hops
  • mixed hop products

There are some exemptions to the certification requirements for these hop products:

  • hops harvested on land owned by a brewery and used by that brewery in the natural or processed state
  • products derived from hops and processed under contract on behalf of a brewery (provided that those products are used by the brewery itself)
  • hops and products derived from hops that are put in small packets for sale to private individuals for their own use – the weight of the package must not exceed 1kg for hop cones or powder, or 300g for extract, powder and the new isomerised products
  • products manufactured from isomerised hop products

All other hops and hop products grown or processed in GB must be certified in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1850/2006. They must comply with the minimum marketing requirements set out in Annex I of the regulation.

Hops can be harvested on land that’s owned by a brewery and used by that brewery in the natural or processed state. For these hops, the brewer must send a declaration to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) by 15 November each year.

What your certificate should include

The certificate issued by the GB certification centre must include the:

  • description of the product
  • reference number of the certificate
  • net or gross weight (or both)
  • hop production area or the place of production
  • year of harvesting
  • variety
  • terms ‘seeded hops’ or ‘seedless hops’ (as appropriate)
  • words ‘Certified product – Regulation (EC) No 1850/2006’, which are included on the certificate by the competent certification authority
  • place and date of processing (for products prepared from hops)

If you require a list of certification centres, email defrahorticulture@defra.gov.uk.

Each package of certified hops or hop products must be marked with the following:

  • description of the product (including the terms ‘seeded hops’ or ‘seedless hops’ as appropriate and ‘prepared hops’ or ‘unprepared hops’)
  • variety or varieties
  • reference number of the certificate

The certificate should accompany the hops or hop product when marketed in GB. If the hops or hop products are split for resale after certification has taken place, an invoice or commercial documentation referencing the following must accompany the hops or hop product:

  • certificate reference number
  • designation of the product
  • gross or net weight (or both)
  • place of production
  • year of harvest
  • variety
  • place and date of processing (for products prepared from hops)

GB hops certification centres must remove all EU branding from certificates (including references to the EU and the EU emblem).

The certification centre number must be pre-fixed with ‘GB’ instead of ‘UK’. You must update any certificates and official stamps you use.

Wording on official stamps must include:

  • certified product – Regulation (EC) No 1850/2006
  • certifying officer signature
  • GB hops certificate centre number

Blends of hops and hop products

Only certified hops originating from Great Britain or certified hop products prepared from certified hops originating from GB, can be blended in the manufacture of powder and extracts.

The certified hops or certified hop products must only be blended in the manufacture, powder or extracts if the hops or hop products are from:

  • the same harvest but are different varieties
  • the same harvest but are different hop production areas

The certificate accompanying the product must also state the:

  • hop varieties used
  • hop production areas
  • year of harvesting
  • percentage weight of each variety used in the blend
  • reference numbers of the certificates issued for the hops and hop products used

Instead of stating the percentage weight of each hop variety used in the blend, the certificate can state the percentage weight of each variety based on the quantity of cone hops used to prepare the hop products if:

  • hop products are manufactured using hop products and cone hops
  • different hop products are used

Importing hops and hop products into Great Britain

Hops and hop products imported from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 must be accompanied by one of the following documents:

  • EU Attestation of Equivalence (AoE) issued by an authorised agency listed in Annex I of EC Regulation 1295/2008
  • EU certificate from EU member states only, issued by an approved certification centre

From 1 January 2022, all imports from third countries (EU and non-EU countries) will require a GB AoE issued by an authorised agency from the country of origin.

The above requirements do not apply to:

  • small packages of hops and hop products for sale to private individuals for their own use
  • hops and hop products for scientific and technical experiments
  • hops and hop products for fairs covered by the special customs arrangements for fairs

For hop cones and powder, the weight of the package must not exceed 1kg. For hop extracts, the weight of the package must not exceed 300g.

The description, weight and final usage of the product must appear on the packaging.

Importing hops and hop products from the EU to Northern Ireland (NI)

There is no change to the marketing standards requirements for importing hops and hop products from the EU to NI.

Hops and hop products marketed in Northern Ireland must be covered by either an:

Hops and hop products of EU origin

An invoice or commercial documentation must accompany hops or hop products if both the:

  • hops or hop products have been EU certified
  • consignment has been split in an EU member state for resale after certification

The commercial documentation must include the:

  • EU certificate number
  • designation of the product
  • gross or net weight (or both)
  • place of production
  • year of harvest
  • variety
  • place and date of processing (for products prepared from hops)

Hops and hop products of third country (non-EU) origin

An invoice or commercial documentation must accompany hops or hop products if both the:

  • hops or hop products are of third country origin
  • consignment has been split for resale after release into free circulation into the EU

‘Free circulation’ means that before the hops or hop products are marketed or sold within the EU:

  • a customs entry must be raised for the hops or hop products
  • duty or VAT must be paid

The commercial documentation must include the:

  • AoE number
  • description of the product
  • gross weight
  • place of production
  • year of harvest
  • variety
  • country of origin
  • markings and identification numbers given in Section 9 of the attestation
  • place and date of processing (for products manufactured from hops)

Consignments imported into Northern Ireland must be accompanied by an extract AoE (as shown in Annex III of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1295/2008) if the hops or hop products are all:

  • of non-EU origin
  • covered by an AoE
  • part of a consignment that’s been split up in an EU member state before it’s released into free circulation

Moving hops and hop products from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

There is no change to the requirements for moving hops and hop products from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

To be marketed in Great Britain, the hops or hop products must have been issued either an:

Check if you need an invoice or commercial documentation to accompany your consignment of hops or hop products.

There are some exemptions to the certification requirements for hop products.

Your consignment of hops and hop products may be split for resale after release into free circulation in the EU or NI. If this has occurred, an invoice or commercial documentation must accompany hops or hop products that are covered by an AoE. Check what commercial documentation you require.

Consignments moved to Great Britain must be accompanied by an extract AoE (issued by customs in Northern Ireland) if the hops or hop products are all:

  • of non-EU origin
  • covered by an AoE
  • part of a consignment that’s been split for resale before it entered free circulation in Northern Ireland

See Annex III of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1295/2008 for the extract AoE that you’ll require.

Exporting hops and hop products from Great Britain to the EU

You must comply with EU third country import requirements to export hops and hop products from Great Britain to the EU. Third country means countries that are not in the EU.

Hops and hop products from non-EU countries can only be imported into the EU if accompanied by an EU AoE issued by an agency that’s both:

If you export GB hops or hop products from Great Britain to the EU, you must ensure that each consignment has an EU AoE that’s issued by the RPA. The RPA is the agency that’s authorised to issue EU AoEs for hops and hop products of GB origin for the UK.

Under EU rules, you cannot re-export hops or hop products to the EU that have been imported to Great Britain from both EU and non-EU countries.

Applying for an EU AoE

You must enrol with the RPA before you can apply for an EU AoE.

The RPA issues EU AoEs for GB consignments entering the EU or NI. See further information on applying for an EU AoE.

Labelling rules

If you export hops and hop products to the EU, you must include the following information on each unit of packaging:

  • description of the product
  • variety or varieties
  • country of origin
  • marks and numbers indicated in section 9 of the AoE or the extract

Exporting hops and hop products from Northern Ireland to the EU

There is no change to requirements for exporting hops and hop products from Northern Ireland to the EU. Hops and hop products exported from Northern Ireland to the EU must meet the minimum EU marketing requirements.

To be marketed in the EU, the hops or hop products must have been issued either an:

You must also check what commercial documentation you require to export hops and hop products of:

Consignments imported into an EU member state must be accompanied by an extract AoE if the hops or hop products are all:

  • of non-EU origin
  • covered by an AoE
  • part of a consignment that’s been split for resale before it entered free circulation in NI

See Annex III of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1295/2008 for the extract AoE that you’ll require.

Moving hops and hop products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

Goods moving from Great Britain into Northern Ireland must meet the import requirements applied by EU marketing standards regulations.

You must ensure that each consignment moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland has an RPA-issued EU AoE.

Under EU rules, you cannot move hops and hop products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland that have been imported into Great Britain from both EU and non-EU countries.

Exporting hops and hop products from the UK to non-EU countries

You must check the individual requirements of the country that you’re exporting to.

Exporting hops and hop products from the UK to non-EU countries via the EU

You must check the import requirements of the country you’re exporting hops and hop products to.

Hop and hop product consignments of GB origin need an AoE and to comply with requirements requested by the country if they:

Rejected goods

You’ll need to provide proof of previous marketing status before your hops or hop products left Great Britain, if the following conditions all apply:

  • your consignment of hops or hop products is rejected by the EU
  • you want these products to enter Great Britain free circulation (declared and customs duties paid)
  • you did not include this documentation with your consignment

Customs will contact you to request the relevant documentation which may include your:

  • EU certificate (for consignments containing hops and hop products certified in Great Britain before 31 December 2020, or certified in the EU and moved into GB before 1 January 2022)
  • GB certificate (for consignments containing hops and hop products certified in Great Britain after 31 December 2020)
  • AoE (which is used for importing or exporting)

If you need help

Contact defrahorticulture@defra.gov.uk if you have any queries. You’ll receive a response within 5 working days.

Published 31 December 2020
Last updated 24 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. The date when imports will need a GB Attestation of Equivalence has changed from 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022.

  2. New guidance for bringing goods back to GB if they have been rejected for import, certification requirements for hops and hop products produced in GB and importing hops and hop products into GB.

  3. First published.