Improper formulas applications leads to rejections by the TTB
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Improper formulas applications leads to rejections by the TTB

| Nov 17, 2020 | Alcoholic Beverage Law, Licensing and Permitting |

One of the many necessary steps for alcohol producers and importers is to determine if you need formula approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). While it is not extremely common, producers and importers will need to provide the formula if the products are made with flavoring or coloring materials. This must be approved before applying for the Certificate of Label Approval. The formula approval can be done online using the TTB website or through the mail, and the applicant must also ship a 750 ml sample of the product to the TTB laboratory.

Info needed for the application

The importer or producer must provide the following:

  • Whether it is a new or superseding formula.
  • The company’s formula number for the product.
  • Indicate the most accurate classification within the formula options.
  • Use either percentage of the whole (which must add up to 100%) or volume/weight.
  • The total yield per batch is indicated in gallons or liquid measurements.
  • There must be a detailed list of ingredients identified as finished alcohol, fermentable ingredient, flavor, color, or other. This includes a list of herbs added, all alcohol sources, natural and artificial flavoring, sweetener, etc.
  • The method of manufacturing the beverage, including a step-by-step process.
  • The proof at distillation before water may be added.
  • The final proof when the beverage is bottled.
  • Importers must provide English translations of formulas.

What happens to the submission?

A formula specialist at the TTB will review the paperwork and check to make sure it complies with all applicable regulations. There may also be laboratory tests by a chemist before the formula specialist reviews the application.

How long is the formula valid?

The domestic formulas remain valid indefinitely unless the formula is surrendered, superseded or revoked by the TTB. Imported products must renew their formulas every ten years unless it is surrendered, replaced or revoked.

There may be questions

It may be a matter of filling in all the appropriate fields and sending in the sample. However, the producer, importer or TTB may have questions. It is helpful to work with an attorney with experience handling alcohol beverage law if there are questions. Still, these attorneys can also help recognize any trouble spots before the producer or importer applies.

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