ACSA’s Comments to Proposed Rulemaking on Standards of Fill

October 29, 2019

Ms. Amy Greenberg
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 1310 G Street NW
Box 12
Washington, DC 20005


American Craft Spirits Association Comments on TTB Proposed Rulemaking 27 CFR Parts 5,7,26 and 27
Elimination of Certain Standards of Fill for Distilled Spirits
Docket No. TTB-2019-0005; Notice No. 183

Dear Ms. Greenberg,

The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) is pleased to submit the following comments and suggestions in response to the proposed rulemaking to 27 CFR Parts 5, 7, 26, and 27 concerning the elimination of standards of fill for distilled spirits.

ACSA, the national trade organization for craft spirits producers, was formed to support the young and burgeoning small and independent distilling industry in the United States. Our most recent report, the preliminary 2019 Craft Spirits Data Project, indicates over 2000 craft distilleries operating across all fifty states, with a total economic market value of $4.8 billion in sales.

Members of ACSA are distilleries with a current DSP, annually removing from bond fewer than 750,001 proof gallons of product and having at least 75% equity or operational control. Members must also abide by the ACSA Code of Ethics to:

operate in an honest, transparent and non-deceptive fashion. We inform consumers truthfully and accurately about the sources and methods used to make our spirits through our labels, materials and communications. We expect fair dealing and respect amongst members. We obey all federal, state, and local laws.”

ACSA surveyed our membership concerning the proposed rulemaking and found overwhelming support for elimination of the current standards as originally proposed by TTB. In order to promote innovation within the industry and competitively enter products into the global marketplace, smaller spirits producers must have maximum flexibility to quickly meet consumer demand as well as diverse regulatory standards.

TTB lays out several reasons supporting the change, chiefly that the current standards are no longer necessary to ‘ensure protection of the tax revenue’, or to unnecessarily limit manufacturing or consumer purchasing options. We agree, and fully support removing all standards between 50ml and 3.785L.

Furthermore, TTB proposes to allow for the optional addition of the equivalent standard U.S. measurement along with the required metric standard. ACSA believes this could result in confusion to the consumer but would not oppose the change given its’ optional nature.

These comments reflect our position on the contemporary intersection of responsible public policy and recognition of a modern and rapidly expanding marketplace, including the consumers demand for new and interesting products. Our goal is to provide meaningful and maximum transparency and accuracy in spirits labeling, advertising and marketing while also promoting a regulatory framework that allows for responsible innovation, creativity and growth in our industry.

Respectfully submitted,

Margie A.S. Lehrman
Chief Executive Officer
American Craft Sprits Association

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