Labels | Read Time: < 1 minute

Labeling for Alcoholic Products Exterior Packaging

Federal law requires that the well-recognized Government Warning: GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. be affixed to a “conspicuous and prominent place on the container” of alcoholic beverages that are sold in the United States. But how does this work with multi-layered packaging, such as 6-packs of beer that have a carrying carton surrounding the bottles or cans? Is the “container” that must bear the Government Warning the single bottle or can, the exterior carrying carton, or both? Perhaps surprisingly, the Government Warning is only required on each bottle or can in the 6-pack scenario. Even though the carrying carton is typically the consumer’s first interaction with the product, it is not included in the definition of a “container” that must contain the Government Warning. 27 C.F.R. § 16.10 specifically defines “Container” as “the innermost sealed container” in which the alcoholic beverage is placed and offered for sale. A phone call with the TTB confirmed they consider the carrying carton to be merely advertising. Do you have any questions about labeling regulations for alcohol products? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a consultation. Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer.

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ABT | Read Time: 4 minutes

Alcoholic Beverage Importers and Exporters in Florida

Like alcoholic beverage manufacturers, distributors, and vendors, importers and exporters are subject to strict regulations and licensing by the federal government and the State of Florida. What Florida Importers & Exporters Can and Cannot Do In the alcoholic sales channel, importers play the role of getting products from overseas through US Customs and into the hands of distributors. Licensed Florida importers are permitted to buy alcoholic beverages from manufacturers and distributors outside Florida and sell those products to licensed Florida manufacturers and distributors. Importers are not permitted to take possession of the alcoholic beverages they buy and sell. Rather, the products that an importer purchases must be shipped directly to a manufacturer or distributor. Florida exporters serve the purpose of getting Florida-manufactured products into the hands of wholesalers and other buyers outside the United States. A Florida brewery, winery, or distillery is allowed to export its own products (rather than working through a separate exporter), but the manufacturer still must comply with Federal and state export licensing and regulatory requirements. Florida importers and exporters cannot make sales directly to vendors or retail customers, with only two exceptions. Exception #1: a Florida importer that is also licensed as a Florida distributor can sell imported products to vendors. Exception #2: a Florida exporter that is also licensed as a Florida manufacturer can sell its products to retail customers in a licensed taproom, tasting room, or gift shop. When it comes to Florida’s Three Tier System, importers and non-manufacturing exporters are generally classified in the “distributor” tier. As such, they are prohibited from having a financial or controlling interest in either a manufacturer or vendor licensed in Florida (discussed in numerous other posts). A question that is often asked: Can a Florida importer purchase beer, wine, or liquor from outside the United States and sell it directly to customers via the internet? The answer is clearly no. Federal and State Licensing Requirements Importers must hold a Basic Importer Permit issued by the federal TTB, and they must hold a Florida Importer or Broker/Sales Agent license. The federal Basic Importer Permit does not require paying a license fee or maintaining a tax bond. A Florida Importer license can be issued to a non-resident person or company, but a Florida Importer must have a Florida office address. The Florida Importer license requires payment of an annual licensing fee (currently, $500 per year) but does not require a tax bond. In addition to holding a Florida Importer or Broker/Sales Agent license, it might be necessary for an importer to apply to the Florida ABT as the “primary American source of supply” (PASS) for an importer product (See Florida Statutes Section 564.045 and Section 565.095). Importers can only purchase wine or liquor products from the PASS, unless the importer is the PASS. The PASS is the manufacturer, bottler, or legally authorized exclusive agent that is the source closest to the manufacturer in the channel of commerce from which an American distributor can obtain the product. A foreign manufacturer or bottler can register as the PASS itself, in which case it will also be the brand registrant. Where the foreign manufacturer or bottler cannot or does not register as the PASS, the importer can apply to the Florida ABT to be designated as the PASS, in which case the importer will be the brand registrant. Florida-based exporters must hold a Basic Wholesaler Permit issued by the federal TTB, and they must register as an Exporter with the Florida ABT. Florida Exporter registration involves essentially the same steps as applying for a Florida beverage license, but there is no registration fee. The federal Basic Wholesaler Permit and Florida Exporter registration are requirements even for a Florida manufacturer that wishes to export its products by selling directly to non-US buyer. Neither the federal Basic Wholesaler Permit nor the Florida Exporter registration requires paying a licensing fee or maintaining a tax bond. Responsibility for Federal and State Regulations and Taxes At the federal level, regulations for importers are mostly concerned with paying excise taxes, confirming the importer products’ country of origin, and complying with federal labeling requirements. Importers are responsible for paying federal excise taxes on imported products, which must be paid before products are allowed to clear US Customs. Wine importers are also required to comply with specific product certifications requirements. Florida regulations that apply to importers focus on enforcing importers’ position in the Three Tier System. Florida importers are required to file monthly operations reports with the Florida ABT, but importers do not generally pay Florida excise taxes. Florida excise taxes on products that are sold to a Florida distributor are paid by the distributor. In comparison, there are relatively few Federal and State of Florida regulations that apply to exported products. Under Federal regulations, exported products must be marked “Export.” Exported products are not subject to Federal or state excise taxes. Federal regulations provide specific requirements for export sales of taxpaid products and tax unpaid products. Exporters must also pay close attention to the laws and regulations of the countries to which they are exporting. The federal TTB provides some guidance about the requirements of several countries. Do you have questions about importing or exporting alcoholic beverages in Florida? Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publication. We disclaim any duty to update or correct any information contained in this blog post, including errors, even if we are notified about them. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied with respect to the information contained in this blog post, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. We will not be liable for damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your use of or reliance on […]

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Nonbeverage Products | Read Time: 3 minutes

Federal and State Requirements for Florida Manufacturers of Hand Sanitizers

Temporary Relief from Federal Requirements for Nonbeverage Alcohol To encourage the nation’s alcohol manufacturers to produce hand sanitizer and ethanol for use in hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (the TTB) issued Public Guidance 2020-1 and 2020-1A. The TTB guidance continues through December 31, 2020. Under the TTB guidance, the following relief is granted to licensed distilled spirits plants (DSPs) through the end of 2020: DSPs are not required to obtain additional permits or bonds to manufacturer hand sanitizer or to supply ethanol for use in manufacturing hand sanitizer. Nonbeverage products made with ethyl alcohol (ethanol), including hand sanitizer, are not subject to federal excise tax. DSPs are not required to obtain formula approval before making hand sanitizer products according to FDA guidance. DSPs are not required to obtain TTB authorization prior to transferring denatured or undenatured ethanol from another domestic DSP (i.e., transfer in bond). DSPs may sell denatured or undenatured ethanol to state and local governments and to hospitals, blood banks, pathological laboratories, non-profit clinics, and qualifying educational institution for their own nonbeverage purpose use and not for resale. In each case, the DSP is required to keep sufficient records of its production, transfer, and sale of denatured or undenatured ethanol. Federal Requirements for Nonbeverage Alcohol During Ordinary Times Unless TTB Public Guidance 2020-1A is extended, DSPs will again be required to comply with ordinary laws and regulations concerning nonbeverage alcohol beginning January 1, 2021. Generally, all nonbeverage alcohol products, including hand sanitizer, require formula approval by the TTB’s Nonbeverage Products Laboratory. The NPL goal is to confirm that products are unfit for beverage purposes. Formula approval is requested through the TTB’s Formula Online system. In some cases, formula approval requires submission of a product sample (2 fluid ounces of a liquid product, or 100 grams for a solid product). A sample is not required provided that the product meets established TTB guidelines for products unfit for beverage use. However, a sample is always required for certain products, including products that contain mitigating ingredients such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, glycerin or juices. Generally, DSPs must include all alcohol produced and sold in its determination of and payment of federal excise taxes. However, DSPs may claim a tax credit for alcohol used in formula-approved nonbeverage products (sometimes called drawback alcohol). The drawback alcohol credit must be claimed by filing TTB Form 5620.8 (Claim – Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Taxes) and TTB Form 5154.2 (Supporting Data for Nonbeverage Drawback Claims). Florida Requirements for Nonbeverage Alcohol Alcohol used in nonbeverage products, including hand sanitizer, is not subject to Florida’s Beverage Law or excise tax. See Florida Statutes s. 561.02. Nonbeverage alcohol to be used in food products is subject to regulation under the Florida food Safety Act by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. See Making & Selling Cocktail Bitters in Florida for more information on federal and Florida regulation of nonbeverage alcohol used in food products. Florida does not regulate nonbeverage alcohol used in non-food products like hand sanitizer. Do you have questions about the regulations that apply to manufacturing ethanol-based hand sanitizer? We’d love to discuss it with you. Contact us at contact@brewerlong.com to schedule a 15-minute introductory call at no charge. Because we’re attorneys: This blog post is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis as of the date of publishing. We disclaim any duty to update or correct any information contained in this blog post, including errors, even if we are notified about them. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we disclaim all representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied with respect to the information contained in this blog post, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title, non-infringement, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. We will not be liable for damages of any kind arising from or in connection with your use of or reliance on this blog post, including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages. You agree to use this blog post at your own risk. Regarding your particular circumstances, we recommend that you consult your own legal counsel–hopefully BrewerLong.

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ABT | Read Time: < 1 minute

Stay Current on Taxes and Filings

Manufacturing beer, wine, and distilled spirits involves a surprising amount of paperwork. From monthly production reports to fictitious name renewals every 5 years, there’s a lot of deadlines to keep track of. We’ve created an information sheet to help. Filing Deadlines for Florida Beverage Manufacturers is a simple chart of the deadlines of the most common production reports, tax returns, and other filings required by beverage manufacturers in Florida.

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ABT | Read Time: 3 minutes

Working with Beverage Caterers

Alcoholic beverage caterers can be great business partners for Florida breweries, wineries and distilleries. As well as supplying beer and wine for catered events, manufacturers can host catered events in their retail and manufacturing spaces, provided they follow the right regulatory steps.

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