Ensuring legal compliance in the beer sector

Beer is a food product subject to a number of legal controls. At Cerveceros de España we aim to show, as simply as possible, the basic legal framework surrounding this product, covering production through to point of sale. The legal framework can be divided into the following sections:

Legislation applicable to beer as a product (Quality Regulations)

Beer is currently regulated by Royal Decree 678/2016, 16 December, of the Ministry of the Presidency and Territorial Administrations which took effect on 18 December 2016.
This royal decree updated the basic quality regulations governing the production and distribution of beer and malt beverages, in the light of the development of technological innovations, the market evolution and changes in consumer expectations.

Consult the official document of the Official State Bulletin (Boletín Oficial del Estado -BOE) which approves the quality regulations governing beer and malt beverages

Regulations applicable to beer labelling

EU Regulation No 1169/2011, 25 October 2011, on food information provided to consumers sets down the general principles, requirements and responsibilities governing food information and, in particular, food labelling. It applies to food company operatives at all stages of the food chain, whenever the activities thereof concern food information provided to consumers.
Beer, as a food product, is subject to the provisions of this Regulation, with the specific requisites stipulated under the Quality Rules regarding sales descriptions.

Regulations on special duties levied on beer

Beer is subject to Law 38/1992, 28 December, on Special Duties, in line with the coordination of these duties at community level, as indirect taxes on the consumption of certain goods, levied on production and imports. The compulsory repercussion of the tax means that the duty is paid by the consumer, as well as the VAT as a general tax (at a rate of 21% for beer).
Royal Decree 1165/1995, of 7 July, sets down the terms and conditions applicable by Law in the form of Regulations.
The tax rates are updated in the Spanish Budget Act (Ley General de Presupuestos del Estado).

Consult the rates for the special duties applicable to beer in force since 17 September 2005

Regulations referring to beer packaging

Beer packaging is subject to the following regulations:
  • Content effective: Royal Decree 1801/2008, 3 November   
  • Characteristics of the bottles as containers measure: Royal Decree 703/1988, 1 July   
  • When transformed into waste: Law 11/1997, 24 April, on Packaging and Waste and regulation thereof -Royal Decree 782/1998, 30 April   

Cerveceros de España is one of the founding members of the Integrated Waste System of ECOVIDRIO, the non-profit association that promotes and manages the recycling of glass packaging waste across Spain.
Consult the 2017 – 2019 Sector Prevention Plan
Consult the 2018 Follow-up Prevention Business Plan

Environmental Regulations (IPPC)

The brewing industry must comply with Law 16/2002, 1 July, on the integrated prevention and control of pollution (BOE no. 157, 2 July 2002), which sets out a procedure to authorise integrated environment permits for industrial facilities subject thereto, which must include the maximum authorised emission limits according to the best techniques available in each instance. As regards the best techniques available by sectors, the IPTS (Instituto de Prospectivas Tecnológicas -Institute of Technological Planning) in Seville has released documents (BREF).
Based on these documents, Cerveceros de España has collaborated with the Ministry for the Environment in preparing a Guide of Best Available Techniques in the Spanish brewing sector, written in collaboration with the Technological Centre AINIA. The Guide aims to be a simple and practical tool, covering the all available information needed and described in a clear and concise way in order to facilitate understanding and the work of the Spanish regions, as it is the duty of the Regional Environmental Authorities to coordinate the procedures to authorise Integrated Environmental Permits.

Consult the Guide to Best Available Techniques in Spain in the brewing sector

Regulations on safety and hygiene

EU Regulation no. 178/2002, of the European Parliament and Council, 28 January 2002, which is directly applicable without the need for transposition to Spanish regulations, sets out the general principles and requirements for food legislation, it created the European Food Safety Authority and sets down procedures relating to food safety (Diario Oficial de las Comunidades Europeas L 31, 1 February 2002).
These Regulations are based on two key areas: hazard analysis and traceability.
As of 1 January 2006, EU Regulation no. 852/2004, of the European Parliament and Council of 29 April 2004, relating to the hygiene of food products, is also applicable.

In October 1996, Cerveceros de España published its first manual on the Application of the Risk Analysis System and Control of Critical Points in the Spanish Brewing Sector (Analysis of Hazards and Critical Control Points as it is known as today), approved by the Ministry of Health and Consumption. After The Brewers of Europe approved a document on the management of food safety in the European brewing industry via the principles of the APPCC and in view of Regulation 852/2004 taking effect, Cerveceros de España has amended its manual to reflect current terminology, and it is now called "Guide to Hazard Assessment and Critical Control Points in the Spanish Brewing Sector".

Consult the Guide to Hazard Assessment and Critical Control Points in the Spanish Brewing Sector

With regard to complying with existing legislation on traceability and to improving efficiency in the supply chain, so that everyone can benefit from the use of common tools, Cerveceros de España requests that its providers apply the EAN Code Rules correctly to their products and groups as indicated in the Program Specifications that can be downloaded here.

Consult the Program Specifications for Provider Traceability.