How to take English Beer to Spain



I have involved myself with a very interesting project witch consist in taking English Beer to Spain. I found out that it is not as straight forward as I thought. I come from a technology background so my knowledge is quite limited. Here are my problems/questions:

– Does the Brewery to witch I will buy the beer need to have special permission for export?
– I will have to set up a company in the UK or in Spain?
– I read about a excise duty… how do you pay that? how much is it? Do you pay that in the UK or in Spain?
– Once the beer in Spain, if I want to storage it, do I need a special permit?

I will also be importing beer from Spain, so I don’t know if it would make much difference to the process.


Hello David
When goods of any kind are moved across borders there always has to be a person or company who is responsible for the export and the import (within the EU export and import are known as despatches and arrivals).

It is a matter of contract negotiation to decide who is responsible for what part of the process.
Shorthand contract terms are often used to describe this – they are called INCOterms e.g. ex works, free carrier, FCA etc.

So long as the product you are buying in the UK is said to be ‘in free circulation’ there will not be any import duty to pay when the goods are moved to another EU country. However there will still be VAT and Excise Duty on alcoholic products. The same will apply in reverse if you buy product in Spain for export to the UK.

Individuals can buy alcoholic products but you can’t sell them without a licence.

You should not assume that the company that you buy the product from will agree to be the exporter and perform all the export formalities including dealing with excise duty. This needs to be discussed in detail.

VAT and excise duty are paid to the local customs authorities. There are a variety of ways to do this and this will differ country to country.

There are some excellent guides and articles on this web site that may assist you. You can also look at the assistance available on the UK HMRC web site‎

There are also various trade associations who can give you guidance such as the Food and Drink Exporters Association‎



Dear David

The exportation & importation of Alcohol is subject to registration, licensing & approval. It is difficult to fully answer your questions here and the subject can be a little tricky.

It may be worth first reading the Alcohol section of and then reverting with a list of questions for further guidance:

I would also suggest you take a look at previous Open to Export question surrounding the exportation of Alcohol to get a feel for the community knowledge & support you will find here:

We are an established, family run freight forwarder and active member of Open to Export, we will happily guide you with any export requirements.

Best regards

James Goehlert
Mercator Cargo Systems Ltd


The general requirements for the movement of duty suspended beer to Spain are set out in section 8.24 and section 9 of Notice 226 “Beer Duty” and Notice 197 “Excise Goods: receipt into and removal from an excise warehouse of excise goods” which explains the United Kingdom’s (UK) requirements for the holding and movement of excise goods in duty suspension within the UK and the European Union (EU).

Copies of these notices can be obtained from our website at > Quick links – Library, Official Statistics > Publications > Notices, Information Sheets and other reference materials > Excise duties, environmental taxes and other duties and taxes > Yes to open site > Scroll to Subject Heading Alcohol > Public Notices

Notices are listed in number order.

HM Revenue & Customs
Customs International Trade & Excise

Export Action Plan