The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is not the most high-profile government agency, but it the governing body for anyone who wants to make or import alcoholic beverages. Operating under the auspices of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the TTB must approve the packaging, formula and other details involved in the making and selling of beer, wine, liquor, and other alcoholic beverages.
The agency is willing to work with applicants to get everything in order, but it is helpful to have everything correct from the get-go. This avoids unnecessary delays in getting products to market. Below are some common errors that delay the application:
This is one of the most common mistakes on the beer/malt beverage label application. To get the all-important Certificate of Label Approval (COLA), the content information on the label must be accurate and correctly formatted. For example:
- Less than 1 pint: Must list the numeral number of ounces (8 fl. oz.) or the fraction of the pint (.5 pint or ½ pint).
- Pint: This is either 16 ounces (16 fl. oz.) or 1 pint (pt.).
- Pint to less than one quart: This would be the number of ounces (20 fl. oz), 1 pint, four fluid ounces (fl. oz), 5/8 quart (qt.), or .63 quart (qt.).
- Quart: 1 quart (qt.) or 32 ounces (oz.).
- More than a quart and less than a gallon: 60 ounces (fl. oz.), or 1 quart (qt.), 1 pint (pt.), 12 fluid ounces (fl. oz.), or 15/32 gallon (gal.), or .47 gallon (gal.).
- Gallon: Gallon (gal.) or 128 ounces (oz.)
- More than a gallon: Number of gallons and the same use of fractions or percentages to arrive at the correct amount.
The applicants cannot deviate in any way from the above measurement formats.
When applying for approval, the applicant must provide the recipe or formula documentation for making the beverage. The recipe must be in ounces. The documentation must include:
- Ingredient specification sheet (Spec Sheet) that includes info on contents of component ingredients like chocolate or syrup.
- Flavor ingredient data sheet (FIDS) that includes all compounded flavors, cloudifier or blends.
- Limited ingredient calculation worksheet that sums up the total amounts in TTB and FDA ingredients present.
Mistakes are easy to make
Manufacturers and importers can visit the TTB’s Alcohol Beverage Formula Approval page for reference. It may also make sense to work with those who have experience handling these applications. They can help smooth the process and make it less stressful for the applicant.