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HMRC internal manual

Spirits Production Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Technical guidance: What classification are spirits-based alcoholic carbonates ('Alcopops')?

Alcoholic carbonates, RTD alcopops, are generally produced by adding fruit, herbal or other flavoured concentrates to a fermented wine, cider or beer base or to a neutral or flavoured spirit base. They normally have an abv not exceeding 5.5%.

Where spirits are added to beer and the resulting product is of a strength exceeding 1.2% abv, it is dutied as a spirit. Exceptions are where the spirit is used as a carrier for flavourings, where no spirit is left in the final product or where the abv of the product is not increased by more than 0.1%.

Where spirits are added to wine / made wine the duty status will depend on whether the spirit or wine / made wine makes up the majority of volume and strength of the final product. If these first two results are not conclusive then the product may still betreated as a made wine as long as it does not take on the characteristics of a spirit.