This section is part of a full article on excise duties :
1- Definition of “Alcoholic Beverages”

2- From a tax point of view :
2.1- Distance selling of alcoholic beverages
2.2- Excise duties via local tax representative
2.3- Calculate excise duties to pay in destination / to claim in your own country
2.4- Drawback/refund of excise duties

3- Alcohol online market
3.1- Circulation of cross-border orders
3.2- Labelling cross-border orders (ingredients)
3.3- Labelling alcohol with destination duty stamps
3.4- Contractual duties of e-retailers and Consumer’s rights
3.5- Monopoly
3.6- Packaging wastes compliance

First of all, Alcoholic beverages are drinkable liquids containing ethanol (ethyl alcohol; C2H5OH) (MeSH database 1).

As a result, ethanol is the main type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.

So, the term alcohol is used for ethanol and, by extension, alcoholic beverages.
You will find in this post, information about types of alcoholic beverages.

Second, the alcohol proportion varies in alcoholic beverages. Also, it is usually indicated in alcohol percentage by volume.

Furthermore, it defines the millilitres of pure ethanol contained in 100 millilitres of the beverage volume (% v/v).

Finally, measured at 20°C, alcohol volume defines the amount of excise duties tax that is applicable.

Types of alcoholic beverages

Third, almost all alcoholic beverages are prepared by fermentation. However, only in the case of spirits is it followed by distillation.

Alcohol in Europe is mostly consumed directly.

However, it is consumed as an ingredient in culinary preparations too, or, in fruit juices and dairy products (e.g., kefir, yogurt).

Finally, prevalent alcoholic beverages in Europe are beer, wine, and spirits.


Table 1. Examples of alcoholic beverages and their alcohol content. Groupings are based on the source and production process

(Based on Food Chemistry 2009)

BeverageAlcohol content (% abv)Source and production process
Beers (ales, pale lagers, stouts, porters)2 – 6Cereals and grains; fermentation
Kvass0.5 – 2Cereals and grains; fermentation
Rice wine, sake15 – 20Rice; fermentation
Whisky, Scotch whisky, gin37.5 – 50Cereals and grains; distillation
Wine9 – 15Grapes; fermentation
Cider2 – 9Apples; fermentation
Perry5 – 8Pears; fermentation
Raspberry/cherry/blackberry/plum wines12 – 14Fruits; fermentation
Brandy; grappa/marc/ouzo38 – 60Grapes; distillation
Cherry kirsch, plum slivovitz40 – 50Fruits; distillation
Tequila32 – 60Agave sap; distillation
Rum, vodka, arrak, schnapps, cachaça35 – 50Other vegetable parts (e.g., canes, roots, sap)
Mead8 – 16Honey; fermentation

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