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May 18, 2012

Greetings!  We hope you are having a brilliant and thankworthy week!  This edition provides a last chance for comment on our proposal concerning Pisco Brandy, information on retail liquor dealer registration requirements, access to alcohol label informational brochures, and a copy of our response to the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association about alcohol infusions.

In the TTB Newsletter, we compile the top TTB news of the week and other helpful information about the Bureau and the Federal alcohol and tobacco laws and regulations we enforce.

Please send any questions or comments to the Executive Liaison for Industry Matters at and/or

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On March 27, 2012, we published Notice No. 126, Standards of Identity for Pisco and Cognac, in the Federal Register. This proposed rule amends the regulations on the standards of identity for distilled spirits to include "Pisco" as a type of brandy that must be manufactured following the laws and regulations of either Peru or Chile, provided any Pisco imported into the United States is bottled at not less than 40 percent alcohol by volume.

Depending on its method of manufacture, any product bottled at below 40 percent alcohol by volume could be labeled either as a "diluted Pisco" or as a distilled spirits specialty product bearing a statement of composition.  In addition, Notice No. 126 includes a technical correction that removes "Cognac" from the examples of geographical designations listed in the standards of identity at 27 CFR 5.22(k) since Cognac is listed separately in the regulations as a type of brandy at 27 CFR 5.22(d)(2).  Under the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, respectively, the United States recognized "Pisco Peru" as a distinctive product of Peru and "Pisco Chileno" as a distinctive product of Chile.  In exchange, these two nations recognized "Bourbon Whiskey" and "Tennessee Whiskey" as distinctive products of the United States.

Comments on this proposal are due on or before May 29, 2012.  You may view copies of this notice and any electronic or mailed comments we receive about it on the Federal e-rulemaking portal, within Docket No. TTB-2012-0003.  To submit comments electronically, use the comment form for Notice No. 126.  To submit comments by postal mail or hand delivery, see the instructions included within the proposed rule.

What must I do if I want to start a business that sells or imports alcohol beverages?

We require retailers of beverage alcohol products to register using TTB F 5630.5d and maintain certain records. If you are a retailer, you must also file TTB F 5630.5d when there is a change since your last registration and when you discontinue business.

Wholesalers and importers of beverage alcohol products must also register using TTB F 5630.5d and maintain certain records; this is in addition to obtaining a permit and following other requirements.

If you would like the TTB forms and additional information to retail, wholesale, or import beverage alcohol products, contact the National Revenue Center:

550 Main St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202
Phone: 800-398-2282 (toll-free)

Some state agencies have separate requirements for the sale of beverage alcohol products. In addition, certain states restrict who may bring beverage alcohol products into their jurisdictions and require permits or licenses to sell and transport beverage alcohol products. Visit our Alcohol Beverage Control Boards (United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico) directory page for contact and Web page information for each state.


To help people understand the meaning of all the information they see on an alcohol beverage label, we created tri-fold informational pamphlets that are available at

TTB Opinion on alcohol Infusions

At TTB, we are aware of the increasing trend of bars and restaurants infusing distilled spirits with fruits, herbs, and other nonalcoholic ingredients in order to make "infusions," which are served on premises in cocktails.  The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) recently asked us for a statement of TTB's position on the issue in order to assist NABCA's state government members when developing their own policies regarding infusions.  We provided NABCA with the following response, which reflects our analysis of the application of certain federal laws to the making of infusions using taxpaid spirits.  In addition, we provided NABCA with our current enforcement policy regarding these activities, so that States could take that into consideration when applying their respective alcohol beverage laws and regulations.  We remind you that TTB is not precluded from taking enforcement action for any conduct that may jeopardize the revenue.

"Under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), rectifying or blending distilled spirits may only be lawfully done by a person with a TTB permit. (See 27 U.S.C. 203(b)). Additionally, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC), processing distilled spirits (including mixing) may be conducted only on the bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant by a person who maintains a registration as a distilled spirits plant proprietor. The mixing of taxpaid spirits for immediate consumption is not considered processing. (See 26 U.S.C. 5002(a)(5) and 5002(a)(6)(B)).

We understand that infusions are generally not for immediate consumption at the time the ingredients are mixed and would, accordingly, be subject to the IRC requirements. However, since taxpaid spirits are used in the process, TTB believes there is little risk to the Federal excise tax revenue. Additionally, because infusions are served on premises as or in cocktails, we do not foresee FAA Act packaging and labeling concerns. Under these circumstances, TTB exercises its enforcement discretion not to take enforcement action solely on the basis of violations with regard to a retail liquor dealer that mixes taxpaid spirits to produce infusions for on-premise consumption. This position does not apply to and TTB will continue to enforce prohibitions on processing with non-taxpaid spirits, bottling spirits, aging spirits in barrels, heating spirits, refilling of liquor bottles by retail liquor dealers, and with respect to any other conduct that may jeopardize the revenue."