Brewers’ Law 101: Federal TTB Manufacturing License
The manufacture of alcoholic beverages (generally, any beverage with greater than 0.5% alcohol by volume) is regulated by the federal government and the state government. Within the federal government, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is the agency charged with collecting federal taxes on alcohol and assuring compliance with alcohol permitting, labeling, and marketing requirements.
For the next 10 weeks, we’ll devote a short post to each of the 10 licenses and permits that are generally required when a beverage manufacturer opens in Florida.
The TTB “Brewer’s Notice”
Before commercially manufacturing alcohol anywhere within the United States, the manufacturer (and the owners and managers of the manufacturer) must be approved by the TTB.
This approval process involves submitting an application form to the TTB. For breweries (any manufacturer of a cereal malt beverage), the application is called the Brewer’s Notice.
For all other manufacturers of alcoholic beverages, including wineries, distilleries, cideries, and meaderies, the application is called the Application for Basic Permit Under FAA Act. Both applications require substantially the same information about the manufacturer and the owners and managers of the manufacturer. Both applications are submitted to the TTB entirely in electronic form using the TTB’s Permits Online system. There is no filing fee.
TTB Brewer’s Notice Application Process
The TTB’s manufacturing applications require detailed information about the manufacturer’s corporate structure, capitalization, management, premises and manufacturing operation. In addition, copies of a number of other documents must be provided to the TTB, including the applicant’s owners’ agreement, premises lease or deed, floor plan and site plan for the premises, and proof of funds. The applicant must provide a tax bond in favor of the TTB. The TTB also reserves the right to request additional information regarding the applicant or any owner or manager of the applicant.
The TTB’s approval process for manufacturing applications is often slow. The process often involves communicating, by telephone and email, with a TTB Specialist assigned to review the application. The TTB Specialist frequently requests clarification or additional information to support the application. In particular, it is common for the TTB Specialist to request additional information about the premises floor plan or site plan and additional information about the owners and their sources of funds.
Remembering that the TTB’s mission is primarily aimed at collecting federal taxes on alcohol—including the safeguarding of pre-taxed alcohol and the accurate calculation of the taxes—is helpful to understanding the TTB’s manufacturing license requirements.
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