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I often produce an excess of homebrew. Would it be legal to sell it in the UK, I would only be selling a maximum of 50 pints / year and my charge would really only cover the cost of the bottle.

Ideally I'd charge a £2 deposit for the bottle and this is refunded if they bring it back. Is this legal?

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Really, selling your homebrew is not worth the hassle of licensing requirements and so on. The 2003 Licensing Act states that the sale by retail of alcohol requires a license. And you will certainly come under food standards trading requirements too.

Give your beer away to friends, and ask if they can return the bottles. Same outcome as your suggestion and with a higher feel good factor. Plus your friends will think you less of a tight wad :)

  • You specifically mention retail, what rules apply to supplying licensed premises? – Mild Fuzz Mar 15 '14 at 19:02
  • Supplying licensed premises is wholesale and require AWRS registration even for a distributor. A producer must also be registered to Produce and Hold beer by HMRC. – Mr_road Oct 27 '16 at 22:56
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The law says that you can't sell alcohol, but if someone asks you to do a brew and pays for the ingredients and your time/equipment it might be a different matter.

  • That sounds a bit like unlicensed contract brewing, which would also be illegal. On the otherhand, if you went round to their house and made beer with them at their home and they fermented it in their house and drank it at their house, and they feed you a lovely meal then I'd think you'd be OK. But, if you brewed it alone at your house for them then handed it all over you would be on a slippery slope, and HMRC would not be happy. I suggest finding a brew buddy splitting the costs and the final beer; I am not aware of them objecting to this. – Mr_road Oct 27 '16 at 23:01
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Disclaimier: I am not a legal professional and this is not legal advise just my understanding of the law, I suggest you take professional legal advise if you wish to sell alcohol in the UK.

Really quick answer NO you can not sell your homebrew in the UK.

TL;DR;

Home brewing is for personal use only. No one will arrest you if you give out a couple of bottles to your mates to take home, but it is still illegal.

You need to have a license to produce and hold beer, approved by HMRC. Since April 2016 to sell beer as a wholesaler you need to be AWRS registered. Furthermore to sell to the public you have to have a personal license, and the premises from which you are conducting business need to be licensed for off or on trade as appropriate.

From deleted questions/comments:

"section 175 of the licensing act 2003, which allows you to conduct a raffle with alcohol as a prize in some circumstances"

Yes, but this alcohol has to be duty paid you can't just hand out home brew.

"Don't sell alcohol, sell raffle tickets in an “everyone is a winner” scenario"

HMRC got wise to this and clamped down.

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