Rev. Ruling 61-71

Use of the Word Straight in Labeling and Advertising of Liqueurs or Cordials

Advice has been requested whether the word "straight" may be used on labels for, or in the advertising of, liqueurs or cordials.

Section 5 of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, 27 U.S.C. 205, makes it unlawful for any person engaged in business as a distiller, rectifier, blender, or wholesaler of alcoholic beverages, directly or indirectly:

(e) Labeling: To sell or ship or deliver for sale or shipment, or otherwise introduce in interstate or foreign commerce, or to receive therein, or to remove from customs custody for consumption, any distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages in bottles, unless such products are * * * labeled in conformity with such regulation ,* * * with respect to * * * labeling * * * (1) as will prohibit deception of the consumer with respect to products * * *; (2) as will provide the consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality * * * of the products * * *; * * * (4) as will prohibit statements on the label that are * * * false, misleading * * *; * * * or

(f) Advertising: To publish or disseminate or cause to be published, or disseminated by radio broadcast, or in any newspaper, periodical or other publication or by any sign or outdoor advertisement or any other printed or graphic matter, any advertisement of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, if such advertisement is in, or is calculated to induce sale in, interstate or foreign commerce, or in disseminated by mail, unless such advertisement is in conformity with such regulations, * * * (1) as will prevent deception of the consumer * * *;; (2) as will provide the consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality * * * of the products advertised, * * *; * * * (4) as will prohibit statements that are * * * false, misleading * * *; (5) as will prevent statements inconsistent with the statement on the labeling of the products advertised. * * *

Section 5.41 of the Distilled Spirits Labeling and Advertising Regulations provides and follows:

(a) * * * Bottles containing distilled spirits, or any labels on such bottles, * * * shall not contain;

(1) Any statement that * * *, irrespective of falsity, directly or by ambiguity, omission, or inference, * * * tends to create a misleading impression * * *

In view of the fact that the term "straight," in relation to American types of whisky, can be employed on labels only if the product is a single distillate or a homogeneous mixture not subject to rectification tax, and as the term "straight," in every-day trade parlance, is regarded in much the same sense as "unblended" in relation to distilled spirits in general, the use of the term "straight" on labels on rectified compounds, know as "cordials" or "liqueurs," would be deceptive or misleading to the consumer with respect to the actual identity of the product thus labeled or advertised. See section 5.21(b)(2) of such regulations.

Accordingly, the use of the word "straight" on labels or in advertising to describe a "liqueur" or "cordial" is prohibited.

27 U.S.C. 205; 27 CFR 5.21 (27 CFR 5.22)