Budget 2020 announced a review as to how the Small Brewer’s Relief (SBR) is structured. The outcome of this review was expected to be published in Spring 2020.

The review considers reforms to the current structure to encourage growth. The tapering allowance above 5,000hl is widely regarded as a ‘cliff-edge’.

At a glance

Small Brewer’s Relief (SBR) was introduced in 2002 and was based on European legislation, specifically EU Directive 92/83/EEC.

It allows reduced rates of duty, of no more than 50% below the standard rate, to be applied to brewers producing up to 200,000hl per year. The UK limited relief to production of up to 60,000 hl.

The government introduced SBR for three reasons:

How to know if your beer falls under Small Brewer’s Relief

This means that if one brewery in a group of connected breweries has licensed production of 50% or more, the whole group is excluded from the scheme. The licensed production in each individual brewery must be less than half of the total production of that brewery.

Reasonable estimates

Brewers must make annual estimates accurately. HMRC expect brewers to take into account contracts and any expansion plans. If you make an untrue estimate by stating the brewery will produce 50,000 hectolitres in the current calendar year when you know that a reasonable estimate would be 70,000 hectolitres, HMRC can recover all of the duty underpaid.


Beer produced under licence is never regarded as 'small brewery beer'. It is always liable to the standard rate of duty. In order to determine whether or not production is licensed, the following factors will be taken into account:

External links

Registration of beer producers

Register as a brewer, packager and holder of beer Form (BPH1)

How to make a reasonable estimate of the current calendar year’s production

Alcohol and tobacco duties

Review of Small Brewer's Relief consultation (closed)