Taxation and Customs Union

Excise Duty on Alcohol

EU legislation on excise duties on alcohol covers:

Alcohol and alcoholic beverages are also subject to the common provisions for excise goods under EU law.

On May 25, the Commission made a proposal amending directive 92/83/EEC on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Read the proposal
Read the impact assessment
Read a summary of the impact assessment

This proposal is based on the Impact Assessment and the final study on Council Directive 92/83/EEC on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

The legislative proposal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee for consultation and to the Council for adoption.

Excise duties on alcoholic beverages

Excise duties on alcohol are regulated through two main pieces of EU legislation.

The Directive 92/83/EEC on excise on duties sets out:

  • The structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages
  • The categories of alcohol and alcoholic beverages subject to excise duty
  • The basis on which the excise duty is calculated

It also includes special provisions such as reduced rates for small breweries and small distilleries, certain products and geographical regions.

Directive 92/84/EEC sets out minimum rates that must applied to each category of alcoholic beverage as well as reduced rates for certain Greek, Italian and Portuguese regions.

EU legislation only sets harmonised minimum rates.

This means that EU countries are free to apply excise duty rates above these minima, according to their own national needs.

Excise products and minimum rates

Excise product Rate expressed per: Minimum rate:


Hectolitre per degree Plato
Hectolitre per degree alcohol

EUR 0.748

EUR 1.87

(still and sparkling)

Hectolitre of volume


Intermediate Products
(e.g. port, sherry)

Hectolitre of volume

EUR 45


Hectolitre of pure alcohol

EUR 550

Traditional and locally produced products in certain Member States

Special legislation exists, relating to some specific products in certain EU countries:

  • Council Decision No 189/2014/EU of 20 February 2014 authorises France to apply a reduced rate of certain indirect taxes on ‘traditional’ rum produced in Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Réunion and repealing Decision 2007/659/EC.
  • Council Decision No 376/2014/EU of 12 June 2014 authorises Portugal to apply a reduced rate of excise duty in the autonomous region of Madeira on locally produced and consumed rum and liqueurs and in the autonomous region of the Azores on locally produced and consumed liqueurs and eaux-de-vie.

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