Of course, I could be wrong, but that's my interpretation of the Excise Act 1901. The Act. Have a look, let me know what you think. Pay particular attention to Part III, Division 1. I don't see any exclusions for beer or wine. That, of course, doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions made for beer or wine, just that I can't see them. Also pay attention to the definition of an excisable good: Excisable goods means goods in respect of which excise duty is imposed by the Parliament, and includes goods the subject of an Excise Tariff or Excise Tariff alteration proposed in the Parliament. Beer is subject to an Excise Tariff. However, IANAL and I could be very wrong. For the sceptics amongst you, this is all due to recent changes (July '06) changes to some legislation. Specifically, the Distillation Act 1901 was repealed and the relevant parts were added to the Excise Act 1901. But not a lot of thought appears to have been put into it.