Before the calendar flipped to 2016, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau issued “TTB Ruling 2015-1, Ingredients and Processes Used in the Production of Beer Not Subject to Formula Requirements,” which replaced TTB Ruling 2014-4.
“Wow, Ruling 2014-4?” you exclaim as you spit out your coffee. I know! It doesn’t get more exciting.
Actually, this is pretty useful. Thanks to the constant urging of the Brewers Association, the TTB took another look at the formula requirements of 27CFR 25.55 and decided it made sense to exempt malt beverages made with certain ingredients, such as honey, many fruits, certain spices and certain food ingredients, upon a finding that these ingredients are traditionally used in the production of fermented beverages. In total, the TTB is exempting 50 ingredients. We shall list them at the end of the post. You can also click over to Attachment 1 of Ruling 2015-1 for expanded details. TTB also has determined that certain processes, such as aging beer in barrels that were previously used in the production or storage of wine or distilled spirits, do not require the filing of a formula.
TTB did not adopt the Brewers Association’s request to exempt malt beverages made with juniper branches, pluot, spruce leaves, squid ink, or woodruff from the formula requirements, because the available data did not establish that these ingredients are traditionally used in the production of fermented beverages designated as beer, ale, porter, stout, lager, or malt liquor. In addition, TTB did not adopt the request to exempt malt beverages made with licorice (or licorice derivatives) as flavor enhancers because of the limitations placed by the FDA regulations on the maximum levels of these ingredients.
Oh, and if you currently have a formula pending in the TTB’s Formulas Online queue that is now exempt, the TTB would like you to go ahead and remove it to streamline things a little bit. You will receive a government-issued thank you note in 500 to 600 business days.
On to the exemptions!
CANDY (CANDI) SUGAR
BLACK CARAWAY, CARAWAY (BLACK CUMIN)
CUMIN, BLACK CUMIN (BLACK CARAWAY)
GRAINS OF PARADISE
PEPPER, BLACK OR WHITE
PEPPER, CAYENNE OR RED
SAGE, GREEK SAGE
Extracts, essential oils, and syrups may contain alcohol or other ingredients, and their use in beer will still require a formula submission, even when they are made from exempted ingredients.