Using Container Deposits to handle Deposit Return Schemes (DRS & CRVs)

You can track Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) schemes in Breww, such as a bottle return scheme. These schemes can be set up and managed by going to ContainersActions & toolsDeposit schemes. In the future, internal keg deposit schemes will be possible too.

Setting up a scheme

When you create a CDS, you can choose which container types (e.g. bottles & cans) the scheme applies to, as well as the rules that the order must fit into for the scheme to apply. This allows you, for example, to only apply a scheme to customers in some countries or only to some types of customers (e.g. only to trade customers).

The cost to you

If the scheme has been mandated by a government, local authority, or similar, then there will typically be a cost to you for each container. In this case, you should make sure you enter this into the “Cost per container” box. Breww will keep track of this cost for you and will account for it within your margin reports, much like it does for beer duty and ensure your profits are not over-inflated.

The charge you make to your customers

Regardless of whether the scheme has a cost to you, you can choose to pass a charge onto your customers (or not to). There is an input box labelled as “Charge per customer”, which is used to enter the charge that you want to pass onto your customers.

There are two ways to pass this charge on to your customers. You can either bundle the charge into your product’s selling price or get Breww to automatically calculate it and add it on the order/invoice for you. If you get Breww to add it on the invoice, it will be shown below the products a bit like how a delivery charge is shown.

You may choose to pass on the charge by including it in your product’s pricing, and also want to highlight its value on the invoice. To do this, please enter the charge into the “Charge per container” box and tick the “Charge is already bundled into product pricing” box - this will show the value on its own line on the invoice, but it won’t increase the value of the order.

If the “Charge is already bundled into product pricing” box isn’t ticked, then the charge will increase the value of the order - in which case you need to enter the applicable VAT/tax rate and the accountancy account to link the value with (if you’ve integrated your accounting package).

Excluding some customers from charges, but including them in reporting

It’s possible to exclude customers/invoices from the scheme entirely using rules, but sometimes, you need to include them in the scheme, but don’t want to pass on a charge (even if you do to most customers). A good example of this is when you “sell” stock to your own taproom/bar and need to track the number of deposits taken but still want to have a zero-value invoice (for the invoice to yourself).

To solve this, once you have created a scheme, you can add customers to a section labelled as “Customers to exclude from charge but include in reporting”. Doing so will effectively switch the “Charge per container” from the usual value to zero for just these customers.

Returning container deposits to your customers

This allows for returning both government-mandated schemes as well as running your own keg deposit scheme (for example) to ensure that your customers return kegs to you once they’re empty. Reducing the number of lost kegs is a huge benefit of running a scheme like this. Simply enable this option on the scheme to get started.

Once this has been enabled, when you invoice an order that has returnable deposits on it, you will be able to log how many of these containers have been returned to you. You can mark the containers as returned manually, or we recommend with tracked containers returning them in your normal workflow.

Once containers have been returned, you will have the option to return deposits to your customer. If you are looking at a new order for the customer, just above the list of products, you will see a Return container deposits button. This will allow you to apply a previous deposit to this order as a reduction in the value of this order.

If the customer doesn’t plan to order again, instead of giving them a “discount” on their next order, you can create a credit note for them and apply the container deposit to the credit note to record that the money has been refunded back to the customer. This is applied in the same way as it’s done from an order.

When viewing the main page for a customer account, you can go to the Containers & uplift orders tab. From this tab, you can see their outstanding (incomplete) deposits - those where you haven’t had all containers returned or you haven’t given them back all their deposits yet. You can also click through to see a full history of all their returnable deposits.

Breww Trade Store orders

The Breww Trade Store will automatically pick up on applicable deposit schemes and show any charges during the online checkout process. This will show as per your settings (such as itemising out a charge bundled into a product price or adding an additional charge).

Ecommerce/POS integration orders

In the options for a CDS, you can choose if you’d like Breww to apply the scheme to orders imported from your webshop, POS, etc. If this is enabled, this will never increase the value of the order as the total price for an order is dictated by the external platform, and so regardless of your other settings, for these orders, it will operate as if you have ticked the “Charge is already bundled into product pricing” box. This is ideal as it will ensure that the charge is itemised out on the invoice (as is a legal requirement for some countries) and will ensure these sales are included in the reporting for the scheme.


When a scheme has been enabled, it will automatically be applied to matching orders. You can run a report to view the deposits that you have taken, even if you didn’t pass a charge onto your customers.

You can view this report at ContainersActions & toolsDeposit schemesReports.

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This is great that you’ve managed to get this going. As you will be aware the Scottish scheme is very controversial and small producers (like us) are trying to get some answers from the government. But, if it does go live in August I still have some input to add to the progress you’ve already made on the system, which may or may not be peculiar to the Scottish scheme. I can reach out directly with some feedback.


Thanks, Hazel. I must admit that our prediction is that it won’t go ahead in Scotland (in August in its current form, at least), but we need to make sure we’re ready in case it does. This was an interesting update:

Everyone at Breww is very conscious of our impact on the environment, and we fully support the reduction in waste, but as it stands currently, this doesn’t seem like the right solution to us.

We’ve kept the original feature request open - Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) - and will continue to do so until some of the remaining bits have been completed. We’ll ensure that it’s fully capable of handling what’s required for the scheme in Scotland before the deadline, as well as ensuring it can handle an internal keg deposit scheme, as I know we have a number of customers who have asked for this before. It would be ideal if you could add any further requirements to that thread so we have everything in one place and we can ensure we refer back to it when scoping out the next parts of the project?

What is the timeline on the return part of the scheme going live?

We don’t have an exact timeline, but we expect this to be in by the end of the summer!

Thanks for the info, Matt!

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Hi Matt, any news on when the ability to do returns will be live?

Hi Tim, thanks for your comment! We unfortunately haven’t managed to get to this yet, but it is near the top of our development list!

Hi, Ben. I’ve reached out to our sales rep, but we’re a new brewery considering Breww as a switch from other software (in our 30-day trial), and we likely can’t move forward if this isn’t an imminent implementation. Any idea on a general timeframe when this will be a thing?

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Hey Ben. The “returning” part of the container deposit schemes feature of Breww is underway at the moment. We’re confident that it will be in place by the end of the year :smile:

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