WhoshouldIsee Tracks

R&D in Breweries

Industry Spotlight

How might a brewery benefit from R&D tax relief?

Innovation is the driving force behind progress and growth in any industry. Companies that invest in research and development (R&D) are the ones that stay ahead of the competition, produce better products and services and drive growth in the economy. Breweries and distilleries may be eligible for research and development (R&D) tax relief if they are developing new or improved products, processes,or services.

Some examples of projects and activities that could qualify for research and development tax relief include:

R&D can be used in developing new, cheaper and more efficient equipment for different stages of brewing. This includes exploring innovative brewing techniques and equipment designs that can lead to improved efficiency and cost savings.

The development of new equipment can also incorporate automation features such as self-cleaning mechanisms that are not easily deducible. By investing in R&D for equipment design, breweries can improve their brewing processes, reduce costs and enhance product quality.

Additionally, breweries can claim back R&D tax relief for any qualifying R&D activities they undertake, which can provide financial incentives for them to continue innovating and improving their operations.

R&D can play a crucial role in the development of organic beers, which involves mimicking the flavour and characteristics of regular beer without using critical non-organic ingredients.

Through R&D efforts, breweries can experiment with different organic ingredients and brewing techniques to create unique and flavourful organic beers that can stand up to their non-organic counterparts.

Conducting research into the microbiology, chemistry or physics of brewing or distilling such as

  • Studying the interactions between different yeast strains
  • Exploring new brewing or distilling techniques
  • Investigating the effects of aging or maturation on flavour and aroma.

R&D can be used by breweries in investigating failed brews and understanding the microbiology of the brew. By using scientific methods to analyse and identify the cause of the failed brew, breweries can improve their processes and prevent similar failures in the future.

This can involve experimenting with different brewing techniques, ingredients and yeast strains to determine the optimal conditions for brewing a particular beer. Through this process, breweries can develop new and innovative brewing methods that can set them apart in a highly competitive industry. 

Additionally, breweries that engage in R&D can claim tax relief for their qualifying R&D activities, allowing them to reinvest those savings into further research and development to continually improve their products and processes.

  • Developing new beer or spirits recipes or formulations that involve experimenting with new ingredients
  • Refining fermentation or distillation techniques
  • Improving the flavour, aroma or appearance of the final product.

Developing new packaging or labelling solutions to improve shelf life, reduce waste or enhance the consumer experience such as

  • Developing new canning or bottling processes
  • Exploring alternative packaging materials

By conducting research and development, breweries can experiment with alternative ingredients to recreate the same flavour and aroma profiles as the original beer style. This could involve testing and evaluating different varieties of hops, malt and yeast, as well as experimenting with different brewing techniques and processes. 

Through R&D, breweries can fine-tune their recipes and processes to produce high-quality, authentic beers that capture the essence of the original style, even with limited access to certain ingredients. 

Additionally, R&D can help breweries improve efficiency and sustainability in their brewing processes, leading to cost savings and reduced environmental impact.

R&D can be used to implement new technologies and equipment to improve efficiency, sustainability, and safety such as

  • Automated brewing systems
  • Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems
  • Wastewater treatment systems.

One way R&D can achieve this is by identifying the factors that contribute to variations in the brewing process and finding ways to control them. 

This may involve developing new equipment or techniques, such as automated systems for measuring and adjusting temperature and pH levels. Additionally, R&D can help breweries optimize their recipes and formulations to achieve more consistent flavour profiles and improve efficiency in the brewing process. 

Yeast is a crucial ingredient in brewing, and its characteristics greatly impact the taste and quality of beer. By conducting R&D Brewery studies on yeast, breweries can gain a better understanding of the yeast’s properties, its effects on the brewing process and how to manipulate it to produce desired flavours and aromas.

These studies may involve collaborations with academic institutions and could cover topics such as yeast genetics, fermentation science and microbiology.

Ultimately, R&D in yeast-focused studies can help breweries create unique and consistent beer products that stand out in the market. Additionally, breweries that engage in such R&D activities may be eligible for R&D tax relief, which can provide significant financial benefits.

Doing anything innovative or industry advancing?

Get in touch today to book your FREE discovery call.

Has your company engaged in this type of activity in the past?

If you believe your breweries and distilleries company could benefit from R&D tax relief, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Our team of experts is here to help you navigate the complexities of research and development tax relief and ensure that you receive the maximum benefit for your innovative work.

Get in touch today to book a FREE discovery call.

R&D Tax Relief

From initial discovery call and information gathering through to claim preparation, supporting documentation and submission. We're your expert partner in R&D tax relief submissions.


For larger companies we can support claim preparations under the RDEC (Research & Development Expenditure Credit) scheme, ensuring robust, defensible and maximised claims .

HMRC Enquiry Support

We'll liaise with HMRC on your behalf, ensuring no unnecessary delays on receiving your claim and no unfair reductions. This service is provided as standard for our clients.

R&D Claim Review

If you're making an R&D tax relief claim, our team can help ensure you're compliant with the latest legislation and identify any potential claim uplift. Speak to our team for more information.

Partner Program

If you work with innovative businesses and you're interested in partnering with us to ensure your clients are maximising their R&D tax relief, speak to our partner program lead.

Accountancy Services

Through BC&A Chartered Accountants, we offer a range of accountancy services including company formations, business planning, taxation and compliance services and more.