Changes in the way alcohol is taxed came into effect on 1 August 2023. The new system of calculating alcohol duty for all alcoholic drinks will be made using standardised tax bands based on alcohol by volume (ABV). This replaces the previous alcohol duty system, which consisted of four separate taxes covering beer, cider, spirits, wine and made-wine.
These changes are expected to make the system fairer and encourage more new products to enter the market. The new system sees the creation of six standardised alcohol duty bands across all types of alcoholic products and apply to all individuals and businesses involved in the manufacture, distribution, holding and sale of alcoholic products across the UK.
There is also more help for the hospitality industry with an increase in the draught relief duty differential. This will reduce alcohol duty on qualifying beer and cider by 9.2%, and by 23% on qualifying wine-based, spirits-based and other fermented products, sold in on-trade premises such as pubs and restaurants. These changes also took effect from 1 August 2023 and mean that individuals who drink draught products in on-trade venues (such as pubs) will pay less tax than on the equivalent non-draught product in off-trade venues (such as supermarkets).
To support wine producers and importers in moving to the new method of calculating duty on their products, temporary arrangements will be in place for eighteen months from 1 August 2023 until 1 February 2025.