As an alcoholic beverage producer, getting your formula approved is a key step to moving your product forward. While the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does not require approval of all formulas, it is required in certain situations, such as if you used ingredients that change the beverage’s color or flavor or if the process you used is not covered by TTB regulations.
Recently, the TTB has noted an increase in formula approval applications that do not contain supporting documentation. Including the appropriate documentation is critical to review your application in full, so excluding these can lead to significant delays. Here is what beverage producers should know.
Three types of supporting documents
Including the following three supporting documents will ensure your application is reviewed and decided on in a timely manner:
- Specification Sheet. These are used to help the TTB understand the ingredients within your formula. A specification sheet should be included for each ingredient that is derived from more than one component.
- Flavor Ingredient Data (FID) Sheet. The TTB uses FID spreadsheets to learn about compounded flavors that were purchased from a flavor manufacturer within your formula. This should be completed and signed by the manufacturer.
- Limited Ingredient Calculation Worksheet. When you use one or more compounded flavors purchased from a manufacturer, you should submit this worksheet as well. The TTB uses this to ensure you don’t excessively use certain ingredients and to determine whether your label will need to display that artificial ingredients are included.
All three documents are not required for every formula, so it is important to understand your ingredients and what forms they will call for. After compiling all your supporting documents, you have the option to submit your entire application online through the TTB’s “Formulas Online” system, or through the mail via a paper application.
More help for formula approval
Once you determine that your product requires formula approval, figuring out when to seek approval and what happens next can be confusing. Consulting with a legal advocate who understands alcoholic beverage law and its intricacies can be helpful.