Exporting beer

Question posted by Gary Proctor, on behalf of PCPTrading in SK2

I have several local micro brewers wishing to use my services in exporting their products. In Europe to start with. We have not confirmed a specific Country as yet. My question is, I have been told in the past that exporting alcohol is expensive and in most cases troublesome, is this still the case. It appears many brewers both large and small are still doing it and seems as popular as its ever been. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Gary

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Richard England, on behalf of Consulting for Export in WD3.

Gary,
I have just finished an assignment with a food and beverage exporter in London and have assisted them in exporting a few pallets of "craft beers" to Sweden.

The process for exporting beer to any country within the EU is reasonably straight forward. All exports from the UK must be through the Excise Movement & Control System (EMCS) and be covered by a movement guarantee.

The usual practice is to export alcohol under bond from a registered bonded warehouse which means that exports are conducted without duty having been paid. You can export alcohol with UK duty paid and claim the duty back once the goods have been exported and proof provided that the goods were exported and not consumed in the UK. However, the first method is preferable.

The duty paid by the importer will differ from EU country to country and is usually dependent on the alcohol strength of the beer. The higher the alcohol by volume the higher the import duty paid by the importer.

Beer exports from the UK were worth more than £600 million in 2012. North America is the largest non-European destination for British beer, with Ireland, France and Belgium being our biggest trading partners within the EU. Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian countries also consume significant amounts of British beer and don't forget China. The Chinese have taken a liking to specialist beers from many countries so always worth considering. Also, if England qualify for Brazil 2014 later on this evening you might like to consider Brazil.

The tricky bit is ensuring that the labelling requirements for each country are covered. This will add a little to the cost especially at the beginning when orders are small. Don't get this part of the process wrong or it will cost you dearly!

Regards,
Richard England
r.england@consultingforexport.net

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Ian James, on behalf of i2i Infinity Limited in BA4.

Hi Gary,

Exporting beer from small breweries is definitely popular at the moment. We help several with their Customs and export documentation requirements. I would suggest taking a look at HMRC Notice 197 (http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageVAT_ShowContent&propertyType=document&columns=1&id=HMCE_PROD1_025227) where you will find sections on storing, moving and exporting alcohol under duty suspension which obviously saves your customers paying the duty if the goods are moving between warehouses in Europe.

Let me know if you would like to speak to us directly about how we can help or to one of our customers about how they do it, as I am sure there are other considerations that need to be made. There are also trade associations which have Export Clubs that can help support you.

Kind regards,
Ian

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Michael Fachetti, on behalf of United Commerce Solutions in United States.

Gary,

Correspondingly, we've had a similar experience with motor oil. Taxes and tariffs are high, bonding, customs, etc. All this not including logistics costs. Liquids, and in your case glass bottling, is heavy and costly.

We found it best to find local blenders (brewers) already operating in the country of interest and working out a "white label" deal with them. Get NDAs in place prior to releasing your formula and have it produced locally. Moreover, you can play the whole "green" angle as you'll be reducing carbon emissions due to transport.

I have some more input, if you'd like to hear it.

Regards,
Mike Fachetti
CEO - UCS NY

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Gemma Price, on behalf of @GemmaPriceUK in W13.

Hi Gary

Welcome to Open to Export!

There is a wealth of free content available online to help you make the right and informed decision for your business / customers when it comes to exporting alcohol.

Alcohol is subject to additional controls as it is subject to excise duties, even when moved around the EU. You may be able to access the Excise Management Control System (EMCS) through your freight forwarder, which will enable your excise goods to move around the European Community with only the consignee accountable for excise/duty.

If all of this seems a little daunting, just find a reliable forwarder/agent who can undertake all the necessary actions on your behalf (although you will pay an additional fee for this).

Here are a few of my bookmarks I refer to for guidance:

Alchol Duty, levy & taxation:
https://www.gov.uk/alcohol-duties

Storing/Warehousing excise goods
https://www.gov.uk/receiving-storing-and-moving-excise-goods

Export regulations for alcohol:
http://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/export-regulations-tobacco-alcohol-fruit-and-vegetables

BExA Guide to Export Compliance: (Page 25 is a must read!)
http://www.bexa.co.uk/docs/BExA%20Guide%20to%20Export%20Compliance.pdf

Finally my personal favourite, Alcohol Labelling Requirements country by country:
http://www.icap.org/table/alcoholbeveragelabeling

I hope this helps and good luck!

Kind regards

Gemma
@ExportExpertUK
info@export-expert.co.uk
www.export-expert.co.uk

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Donna Whelan, on behalf of UKTI North West in M17.

Hi Gary

It's true that many British breweries of all sizes have been able to take advantage of the growing global demand for British beer. It is not a quick win by any means but there is still lots of potential for those breweries with enough capacity, resource and flexibility to enter export markets. Within Europe the main markets are the Nordics and also Italy. UKTI has just run a trade mission to the Beer and Whisky Show in Stockholm which was a huge success. UKTI is also planning a webinar on the French beer sector on 29th October which may be of interest to you. Funding for the key international trade shows is available from UKTI through the Brewing, Food and Beverage industry Suppliers Association (BFBi). The mian advice is to undertake thorough research in target countries to fully understand the main market and the sector and also identfy key partners in those markets who can advise on legislation, labelling and margins etc. UKTI is on hand to help you through this process.

Kind regards

Donna

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Lauren Dickerson, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment USA in United States.

Hello Gary,

It is very true that micro breweries are experiencing high demand throughout the world. I am the food and drink specialist for the US and can say that here in the US importers and distributors are receptive to new smaller brands.

As you have been rightly advised exporting to any country can be quite expensive and it is important to understand all the taxes and duties before approaching importers and distributors.

It may be beneficial for you to reach out to BFBi, Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry (www.bfbi.org.uk) trade association in the UK. I know that they organise trade missions to the US and elsewhere for British breweries.

Please let me know if you have any future questions regarding the US market.

Cheers,
Lauren

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Bryony Porcas, on behalf of Flo-FX in E1.

Hi Gary,

We are able to beat corporate bank rates on foreign currency exchange. Due to the fact we are a trading name of Ebury Partners (whose turnover last year was in the region of £1bn), we have virtually no overheads and so can substantially undercut banks and competitors. We carry out all the necessary KYC checks in line with FCA regulations and maintain a fervent desire to ensure all our clients receive the fastest, most efficient service possible.

Please send me an email on b.porcas@flo-fx.com or visit our website at www.flo-fx.com for more information.

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