New TTB Ruling Exempts Dozens of Brewing Ingredients

The U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has ruled that more than 30 ingredients as well as certain brewing processes — such as aging beer in barrels — are no longer subject to formula requirements.

Previously, brewers using the now exempt ingredients and practices had to provide a formula submission to the TTB en route to obtaining label approval.

Effective immediately, as a result of the TTB’s ruling, brewers with pending applications in which now exempted ingredients and practices are disclosed can be withdrawn.

Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association (BA), described the ruling as a “huge victory for craft brewers” in a statement posted to the association’s online forum, adding, “The process that led up to this ruling started over 8 long years ago.”

He said, in part:

“The Brewers Association, with significant assistance from Marc Sorini at McDermott Will & Emery, originally petitioned for these formula exemptions in May 2006. In December 2007, TTB exempted just a few of the requests, such as use of new barrels, use of new wood chips, brown sugar and candi sugar. As the craft industry and common use of more of these ingredients grew, and TTB resources shrank with smaller government, and so many COLA and formula submissions inundated TTB headquarters, TTB re-examined the BA’s petition and approved the new exemption. I see this ruling as a huge victory for craft brewers and a greater alignment of a key regulatory agency with common sense and a willingness to be open to change. This victory is a clear benefit of your Brewers Association membership.”

In its ruling, the TTB wrote that since the BA first filed its petition, the agency “has received numerous requests from the brewing industry to reconsider the formula requirements.”

It continues:

“TTB also has seen an unprecedented surge in formula approval requests for fruit beers, spiced beers, and beer aged in barrels that were previously used in the production or storage of wine or distilled spirits, illustrating the widespread use and consumer acceptance of some of the ingredients and processes that the Brewers Association identified in its 2006 petition. The increase in formula submissions played a role in TTB’s decision to reconsider its position.”

In all, 35 ingredients, including a number of different fruits and spices, are no longer subject to the TTB’s formula requirements.

A full list of ingredient and practice exemptions can be read here.

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