If your business requires strict adherence to federal and state alcohol beverage laws, you know that you’re often at the mercy of the red tape – and delays – that often entails. Knowing the processing times you can expect for applications and approvals can help you better plan – whether you’re starting a business or adding products to your line.
Here we’re going to look at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) processing times for two crucial elements of many businesses: label applications and formulas. Note that these are only medians. They can be affected by everything from staffing, number of applications pending and more.
Certificate of Label Approval (COLA)
The median number of calendar days it takes to process these are currently as follows:
- Distilled spirits: 5 days
- Malt beverages: 3 days
- Wine: 2 days
If you file your COLA application online and have a COLA account, you can check the status any time on the TTB.gov site.
Beverage alcohol formula applications and samples
The processing time for beverage alcohol formulas depends in part on whether a sample analysis is required. The TTB lists its customer service standard as 15 days for a formula application review and an additional 15 days if a sample analysis is required. Currently, they are processing these applications and samples more quickly than that. If you file online, you can also check your formula application status online anytime.
Of course, having your submission as accurate and complete as possible will help cut down on unnecessary delays caused by having to return the application in order to request more information. It is better for everyone when applications are correct and complete the first time around. Corrected applications take precedence over initial ones, so it slows down the process for everyone. Having experienced alcohol and beverage legal guidance as you do this can make a big difference.