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HMRC internal manual

Cider Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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Cider production: making process: what is sparkling cider?

Gases (mainly carbon dioxide) can be dissolved in cider to produce a sparkling effect when the bottled product is uncorked. This is normally achieved either by aeration, mixing with carbonated water or secondary fermentation. This process must be carried out in cider makers’ premises or in a suitably approved excise warehouse.

Cider is liable to the sparkling rates of duty if it has an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 5.5% but less than 8.5% and:

  • is in a closed bottle with excess pressure of three bars or more at 20 degrees Celsius, or
  • regardless of pressure, is contained in a closed bottle with a ‘mushroom shaped stopper’ held in place by a tie or fastening.

Note: One bar equals normal atmospheric pressure (approximately 15lbs. per square inch).

ALDA section 62A provides the meaning of ‘sparkling’.