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HMRC internal manual

Beer Guidance

Beer Production: Strength of beer

Section 12 of Notice 226 gives detailed information on how to measure alcoholic strength for duty purposes. The legal basis is provided by sections 2(3) and 2(3A) of ALDA which allows the Commissioners to make regulations for ascertaining the strength of beer for duty purposes, including using the strength shown on package labels or documents relating to the beer.

Regulation 18 of the Beer Regulations provides that the strength of the beer for duty purposes is the greatest of:

  1. The actual strength as determined by distillation analysis;
  2. The strength shown on the label of the container;
  3. The strength shown on any invoice or delivery note. But not price lists, marketing documents etc.; and
  4. In the case of cask or bottle conditioned beer, its estimated strength when it is sold to the consumer.

As far as possible, the strength shown on the labels or associated documents is to be used, provided due diligence has been observed.