DUTY RISE - 1st August 2023

28 July 2023

DUTY RISE - 1st August 2023

Significant Duty Increases Drive up Prices

The 1st August will see significant increases in duty (tax) on alcohol as the Chancellor introduces the biggest single alcohol duty increase in almost five decades. Made worse by the fact that duty will now be calculated based on the alcoholic strength of the drink (ABV), it means products which previously had a low duty rate will see an even greater increase.

Instead of providing relief at a time of need, the government continues to exacerbate and heap on inflationary pressures to businesses who are grappling with soaring electricity costs, labour shortages and a protracted cost of living crisis. Leaving businesses, many of whom are struggling to breakeven, no choice but to pass on the significant duty increases to customers. 

The immediate future remains challenging, and it is vital that we ensure our valued customers understand the price increases are down to the Government - not the hospitality businesses.

With the ‘price of a pint’ commonly used as reference point, we have developed a graphic showing the breakdown of what’s in the cost of a pint. Whilst we have used a £5 value, we have also highlighted that overheads will vary.

Download the ‘What’s in a Pint’ graphic in the links below: 

Colour HERE

Black and White HERE

Working in partnership with UKH, Hospitality Ulster continues to press the UK Government to recognise the importance of our hospitality industry and that it is an overtaxed and an undervalued part of the economy.


The key changes to Duty are;

  • All alcoholic products will now be measured using ‘Alcohol By Volume’ (ABV).
  • Products such as Cider, Wine, and Made Wine were previously measured using Volume.
  • All products will change their Duty Band from the 1st of August 2023.
  • Allocating the Duty Band will include classification, ‘ABV’ and ‘End Use’ (Draught)


The impact of this change varies by category, with some key changes noted below:

  • Draught Beer & Cider are protected from duty increases by the 9.2% discount offered on items in 20ltr containers that are less than 8.5% and use a dispense system.  This means that the duty on a 50ltr 4% lager will not change.
  • Packaged Beer - the standard rate of duty on packaged beer 3.5% and above will increase by 10.1%.
  • Wine - Duty for Still & Sparkling wine will now be based on the % alcohol per litre and the duty harmonised (previously sparkling wine had a higher rate than still wine).​ This means the higher the ABV, the higher the duty.​ To help businesses adjust to the new legislation, wine between 11.5% and 14.5% will be treated as if it is 12.5% by volume until 2025.​ The duty on a 12% Still Wine will increase by £0.44p per 75cl. A 75cl bottle of 12% Champagne will see a £0.19p reduction.
  • Spirits - The standard rate of duty for Spirits over 22% ABV is increasing by 10.1% in line with RPI. This will increase the price of a standard bottle of 40% Sprits by £0.81 per bottle. There are new bandings for products with less than 22% ABV and less than 3.5% which will reduce duty vs current rates.
  • Flavoured Cider - Products that have flavours added are not classed as Cider and previously known as ‘made wine’. These will now be included in the category of ‘other fermented beverages’, and duty aligned to ABV.