Will Brexit mean caps on alcohol transport from France to the UK?


Reader’s Question: I have a holiday home in France and usually on my way back to the UK I stock up on alcohol, cigarettes and other cheaper goods on this side of the pond. Will this still be possible once Brexit goes into effect properly?
Short answer: Yes, but with limits

The Brexit transition period will end on December 31, which means that the UK’s rights as a member of the EU will end.

Previously there was no limit on the intake of alcohol or tobacco from EU countries to the UK. That will change after this year.

The UK government website says the following limits will apply to alcohol products:

  • Maximum of 42 liters of beer
  • Maximum of 18 liters of still wine
  • Maximum of 4 liters of sparkling wine, fortified wine or any alcoholic beverage less than 22% ABV

The UK government says the 42-liter beer allowance will be equivalent to three cases of 568ml (pint) cans. If passengers prefer to buy 330ml beer bottles, that would equate to five cases.

The following limits will also apply to tobacco products:

  • A maximum of 200 cigarettes or
  • 100 cigarettes or
  • 50 cigars or
  • 250g of tobacco or
  • 200 tobacco sticks to heat or
  • Any proportional combination of the above

All other goods will be capped at a maximum of £ 390 or £ 270 if you are traveling by private plane or boat.

United Kingdom in France

UK excise duties will no longer apply on alcohol and tobacco purchased upon leaving the UK. This means, for example, that any alcohol bought duty-free on the way to an EU country will be cheaper.

The UK government’s website says it could therefore be:

  • € 2.23 cheaper for a 75cl bottle of wine
  • £ 2.86 cheaper for a 75cl bottle of Champagne or Prosecco.
  • £ 2.28 cheaper for six 50cl cans of 4% ABV beer
  • £ 11.50 cheaper for a 1 liter bottle of 40% ABV alcohol

Read more:

Impact of Brexit on French wine


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