In Notice No. 210, Standards of Fill for Wine and Distilled Spirits published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposed a serious streamlining of its packaging rules for wine and distilled spirits.
Option 1, TTB is proposing to add 10 additional authorized standards of fill for wine.
Option 2, as an alternative, would be to eliminate all but a minimum standard of fill for wine containers and all but a minimum (50 ml) and maximum for distilled spirits containers (3.785 liters), potentially eliminating regulatory requirements, reducing barriers to competition.
TTB believes a minimum container size is needed to ensure sufficient space on the container for required labeling and that a maximum container size is needed to maintain the distinction between bottled and bulk distilled spirits products.
But other than that, why make distinctions? The arguments for that option make the most sense to us.
- Elimination of the existing standards of fill would address the recent petitions on this issue, would eliminate the need for industry members to petition for additional authorizations if marketplace conditions favor different standards in the future, and would eliminate requirements that restrict competition and the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce.
- It would address concerns that the current standards of fill unnecessarily limit manufacturing options and consumer purchasing options, particularly where consumers may seek smaller containers to target a specific amount of consumption.
- TTB believes that current labeling requirements regarding net contents and those regarding the design and fill of containers may provide consumers with adequate information about container contents.
- Limiting standards of fill is no longer necessary to ensure accurate calculation of tax liabilities or to protect the revenue. TTB verifies tax liability on the basis of a producer’s production and removal records, and TTB believes that allowing additional standards of fill would not undermine its efforts in this regard.
Comments are due by July 25, 2022. Use this comment form if interested.