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HMRC internal manual

VAT Food

Excepted items: Materials for home brewing and wine making

Excepted item 7 applies the standard rate to goods which would otherwise be zero-rated under general items 1 - 3 of Group 1 (food, animal food, seeds or other means of propagation of plants comprised in items 1 or 2), when they are in any way packaged or prepared for use home brewing and wine making.

It was introduced with effect from 1st April 1977 by the Value Added Tax (Food) Order 1976 (SI 1976 no. 2025) in order to resolve anomalies between the tax position of home-made and excisable alcoholic beverages and also between kits for domestic beer making (previously mostly composed of zero-rated elements) and those for domestic wine making (previously mostly composed of standard-rated fruit juices and concentrates).

Which products are standard-rated? Standard rating applies to:

  • kits for home brewing, wine making etc;
  • retail packs of hopped malt extract, malted barley, roasted barley, hops, special wine and brewer’s yeasts, wine or beer concentrates and similar products specialised to home-brewing or wine making; and
  • retail packs of foods which are not specialised to home-brewing or wine-making, such as fresh, dried or tinned fruit and fruit juices, barley, glucose and plain malt extract, if they are held out for sale (ie packaged and labelled) for home brewing or wine making. Non-food materials used in home brewing and wine making, such as finings, isinglass, equipment etc are standard-rated under the general VAT provisions rather than those of

excepted item 7, since they are not food within Group 1.

Food and food ingredients used in commercial brewing

Excepted item 7 only applies to food or food ingredients prepared and packaged for home brewing and home wine making. The same materials, (malt, hops, hop extract, barley etc), not prepared in this way and supplied to the commercial brewing industry, are therefore zero- rated, even though they will be incorporated into a food which is itself excluded from zero- rating (beer being standard-rated by virtue of excepted item 3 to group 1).