Must Read for Alcoholic Beverage Industry Participants

The TTB’s Alcohol FAQs is required reading for alcoholic beverage manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

Whether you’re just considering getting into the alcoholic beverage industry, or you’re a seasoned industry participant, the Alcohol FAQs published by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is a valuable resource. Not only does the FAQ answer common questions about beer, wine and distilled spirits, it covers topic about labeling and formulation, alcohol fact statements, organic alcohol, flavored malt beverage, kombucha, cider, and mead.

Questions and Answers on Every Topic

While all of the TTB’s FAQs are informative, some are truly entertaining. Following is a short list of our favorites.

G6: Can a student make alcohol as part of a science fair project?

You might expect the answer to this question to be a solid “No.” However, what follows in the FAQ is an alternative procedure for permitting an alcohol fuel plant.

G11: Can I import alcohol beverages (such as rum) made in Cuba into the United States?

No, but authorized persons traveling to Cuba can bring back alcoholic beverages for personal use.

A16: How can I personalize my labels for customers to commemorate special occasions such as weddings, corporate events, etc., without having to submit each version of the personalized label to TTB for approval?

TTB Procedure G 2017-2 provides detailed information about personalized labels.

A21: What is required when applying for a certificate of exemption from label approval for my wine label instead of a Certificate of Label Approval on Form 5100.31?

Unlike beer products, there is no automatic exemption from Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) for wine and distilled spirit products. Generally, this means that the label for all cider, mead, and perry products–all of which are considered wine for federal regulatory purposes–must be approved in advance. However, wine and spirit manufacturers can apply for an exemption from label approval on products that will only be sold in state.

A29: Will TTB approve any formulas or labels for alcohol beverage products that contain a controlled substance under Federal law, including marijuana?

No, but formula approval is possible for products that include hemp ingredients.

OA 4: When I submit a label application for a label with an organic reference, what additional documentation must I submit?

 A majority of claims will require you to submit the Certifier/Accredited Certifying Agent (ACA) Preview.

FMB1: How does TTB TD-21 impact the composition of flavored malt beverages?

If a malt beverage contains more than 6% alcohol by volume, not more than 1.5% of the volume of the finished product may consist of alcohol derived from flavors and other nonbeverage ingredients containing alcohol.

FMB8 : If I ship my beer to another state, and that state has different labeling requirements, am I required to comply with those labeling requirements?

You are required to comply with the labeling laws of any state in which [or “where”] you sell your malt beverages.

FMB15 : What are examples of non-traditional processes that require the filing of a formula?

Removal of any volume of water from beer; filtration of beer to substantially change the color, flavor, or character; separation of beer into different components; reverse osmosis; concentration of beer; and ion exchange treatments are examples of non-traditional processes for which brewers must file a formula.

CAB1: What Actions Has FDA Taken with Regard to Malt Beverages Containing Added Caffeine?

The FDA has determined that caffeine is an unsafe food additive when it is added to an alcoholic beverage packaged product.

SUG2: May my label or advertisement include a claim such as “Zero Sugar,” “No Sugar,” or “Sugar Free,” if the product contains less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving?

Yes. Such claims must be made in accordance with the guidance set forth for carbohydrate representations in TTB Ruling 2004-1 and TTB Ruling 2013-2 .

CID4: Do Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food labeling requirements apply to cider containing less than 7 percent alcohol by volume?

Yes. While a TTB COLA is not required for wines containing less than 7 percent alcohol by volume, these wines must comply with applicable FDA food labeling requirements, including ingredient labeling, nutrient labeling, and allergen labeling requirements.

K6. How does the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (IRC) classify kombucha that contains 0.5% or more alcohol by volume?

Generally, as beer, because the alcohol in kombucha is usually derived from the fermentation of sugar or another appropriate substitute for mail. However, it is possible to produce a kombucha-style product that is classified as wine or distilled spirits.

Read the TTB Alcohol FAQs

This is a very short selection of the questions and answers that can be found on the TTB’s Alcohol FAQs. Our recommendation is that everyone who is involved or who wants to get involved in the alcoholic beverage industry should review the TTB’s Alcohol FAQs, whether or not you have an immediate question.

Caveat: the TTB Alcohol FAQs only cover part of the regulation of alcoholic beverages. Industry participants must also contend with the regulations of their home state and each state in which they sell. Local municipal ordinances and regulations also impact industry participants. Unfortunately, states and municipalities generally do not do as good a job as the TTB about providing information about their regulations.

Do you have questions about information you have read in the TTB’s Alcohol FAQs? Contact us at to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney.

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 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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