“This final rule adopts many of the recommendations included in the DISCUS submission filed last June. This was an enormous undertaking by the TTB and represents the first major update to the Part 5 labeling and advertising regulations in decades. We greatly appreciate the effort that went into carefully reviewing the submissions and finalizing regulations that reflect today’s modern marketplace and provide distillers with greater flexibility to develop and market new innovative products. We look forward to working with TTB to develop new standards of identity for American Single Malt Whiskey and American Rye Whiskey, which we fully support. The formal establishment of these categories would signal to the world that not only do we believe in and support our own distilleries, but also recognize that these categories are unique and deserve to be defined and protected.”
The final rule, which will take effect May 4, includes adoption of many proposals, clarity around proposals that will not be adopted, and a note that the remaining proposals will continue to be considered. Key highlights include:
- Adopted expanded alcohol variance/tolerance when bottling from .15 to .3, which provides some much needed flexibility and is consistent with European standards.
- Approved age statements on all classes and types of distilled spirits, except for grain spirits.
- Abandoned a proposal to limit “age” statements on distilled spirits labels to include only the time the product is aged in the first barrel, and not aging that occurs in subsequent barrels.
- Abandoned a proposal to define an “oak barrel” for purposes of aging distilled spirits in an overly restrictive manner.