Switzerland, a Land of Breweries

Nowhere are there more breweries per capita than in Switzerland. In 2020, there were over 1,200, ranging from microbreweries making 400 litres annually to large producers.

Beer and mixed beer beverages produced in Switzerland are subject to the so-called beer tax. Swiss breweries must pay a levy to the Confederation based on the amount of beer they produce. The brewery's own data, which is collected on a quarterly basis by the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS), is used to calculate the tax.

For a long time, this process was carried out by post: a form had to be completed in hard copy and sent to the FOCBS. However, as part of its DaziT programme, the FOCBS wants to gradually digitalise its services. The Swiss beer tax is due to be digitalised as well – and this is where the Biera application comes in.

Developed in Direct Collaboration with End Users

In cooperation with IT experts and specialists from the FOITT, the FOCBS began developing a digital solution. The focus was on user needs. Therefore, the project was initially set up as a pilot: in order to perform prior testing of the application and the associated processes, Biera was made available to seven large Swiss breweries as a minimum viable product (MVP). In direct collaboration with the breweries, the project team refined the application based on feedback from the pilot users.

This approach paid off: after an initial period to get used to the application, the users are reportedly happy with Biera. Since spring this year, it has been used by all large and medium-sized breweries that are liable for the tax; this means that 99% of the Swiss beer tax is already being handled digitally. The roughly 1,000 remaining small breweries, which make up the residual percentage of the tax, should be able to use Biera from the start of next year.

You can find further information on Biera here.