STANDARDS OF IDENTITY FOR VODKA
Proprietors of Distilled Spirits Plants, Importers,
and Others Concerned.
PURPOSE. The purpose of this circular is to inform
industry members that an ATF Ruling will be published
in a future issue of the Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms Bulletin. The ruling will read
substantially as follows:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
has been asked to reconsider whether the use of up to
two-tenths of one percent of sugar and a trace amount
of citric acid would not materially affect the taste
or change the basic character of vodka.
27 C.F.R. 5.22(a)(1) sets forth the standard of
identity for vodka as "neutral spirits so distilled,
or so treated after distillation with charcoal
or other materials, as to be without distinctive
character, aroma, taste or color." 27 C.F.R.
5.23(a)(2) describes the harmless coloring, flavoring
or blending materials which may be added without
altering the class and type of distilled spirits.
27 C.F.R. 5.23(a)(3)(ii) provides that harmless
coloring, flavoring and blending materials shall
not include any material whatsoever in the case of
Revenue Ruling 56-98, 1956-1 C. B. 811
specifically held that the use of up to two-tenths
of one percent of sugar and a trace amount of citric
acid would not materially affect the taste or change
the basic character of vodka. However, recent tests
by the ATF National Laboratory Center have shown that
the chemical and physical characteristics of neutral
spirits treated in accordance with Rev. Rul. 56-98
have been measurably changed. In addition, taste
tests have shown that a difference can be detected
between vodka containing sugar and citric acid, as
allowed in Rev. Rul. 56-98, and vodka containing
neither of these materials.
Held, Neutral spirits to which sugar and/or
citric acid have been added may not be designated
or labeled as vodka.
The requirements of this ruling are effective
immediately and apply to all new formula and label
applications. The Bureau will, however, permit
the use until December 31, 1980, of all previously
approved formulas and labels for vodka which do not
meet the requirements of this ruling. Certificates
of label approval issued under such formulas, and
the formula approvals themselves, shall be surren-
dered for cancellation upon the close of business
December 31, 1980.
Rev. Rul. 56-98, 1956-1 C. B. 811 (Internal Revenue),
is hereby revoked.
Inquiries: Inquiries concerning this circular should
refer to its number and be addressed to the Assistant
Director (Regulatory Enforcement), Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20226.