The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) today published a final rule to address certain proposals included in Notice 176, Modernization of the Labeling and Advertising Regulation. Last year, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) spearheaded a six-month effort to gather members’ comments on the proposed rulemaking related to modernizing labeling and advertising requirements for beverage alcohol, and ultimately submitted recommendations based on those comments on June 26, 2019. ACSA’s member-submitted recommendations directly influenced the rule changes to be announced tomorrow. TTB notes that while the final rule does not address all of the proposals made in notice 176, it does provide resolution to a number of issues that:
• do not require any current labels or advertisements to be changed
• were generally widely supported by commenters and stakeholders
• can be implemented relatively quickly, and
• will either give more flexibility to industry members or help industry members understand existing requirements.
Specifically, TTB adds, the rule finalizes, among other things, the following liberalizing changes that were proposed in Notice No. 176 and directly related to distilled spirits:
• an expanded alcohol content tolerance for distilled spirits
• brand label placement flexibility for distilled spirits
• allowing age statements for most types of distilled spirits.
During the first half of 2019, ACSA solicited feedback on the proposed rules, held a town hall, webinar and individual meetings where discussion was entertained, and continuously reached out to remind members and the guilds that their feedback was essential to this process. We also held a series of conference calls to engage members from all categories to examine and contribute to the TTB proposal. Ultimately, the ACSA Board of Directors both analyzed and signed off on the ACSA response, which presents our industry’s diverse input as a single, unified voice. We’d like to extend special thanks to Mark Shilling, ACSA Government Affairs Committee Chair, and Nicole Austin for leading the Association’s comprehensive outreach effort to gather members’ feedback.
ACSA will be analyzing the final rules and holding a town hall to share the specific impact on craft distillers. Shilling and Austin are putting together a summary that will be available shortly.