Rev. Ruling 55-552
Grain Neutral Spirits Stored in Wood may not be Labeled as Vodka
Advice has been requested whether grain neutral spirits, which have obtained a light golden color from storage in wood and which are treated with carbon, may be labeled as vodka if, when bottled, the distillate retains all or part of the light golden color.
Section 21, class 1(a) of Regulations No. 5 defines vodka as neutral spirits distilled from any material at or above 190 degrees of proof, reduced to not more than 110 nor less than 80 degrees of proof, and after such reduction in proof treated by one of the three methods set forth therein so that the resulting product would be without distinctive character, aroma, or taste. That section requires that the distillate, after treatment, be stored only in metal, porcelain, or glass containers or paraffin lined tanks.
It is held that a product with a "light golden" color would not conform to the above definition. Accordingly, such a product may not be labeled as vodka.
27 U.S.C. 205; 27 CFR 5.21 (27 CFR 5.22)