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Guide to Alcohol Beverage Regulation in the US: FDA Registration & Labelling

In the U.S., the production and labelling of alcoholic beverages are watched over by two major entities: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). If you're involved in making or selling alcoholic beverages, it's essential to understand the rules. Let’s break it down.


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1. Registering with the FDA


If you’re involved in making, packaging, or storing beer, wine, or spirits for American consumers, the FDA wants to know about you! Here's what you need to do:

Register Your Facility: Whether you’re a brewery, winery, or distillery, the FDA requires you to register your facility.


Stay Up to FDA Standards: Your alcoholic beverages should meet the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act's standards. This means ensuring that your product isn't adulterated or misbranded. Additionally, your facility should be ready for FDA inspections and follow good manufacturing practices, much like food producers.


2. Understanding Labelling: TTB vs. FDA


The label on your alcoholic beverage is more than just a branding tool – it's a regulated piece of information.


TTB's Role: If you're producing distilled spirits, wines with 7-24% alcohol by volume (ABV), or malt beverages, then TTB has a say in your product's label. They monitor these labels under the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act. Plus, before hitting the shelves, these products need TTB's label approval.


FDA's Turn: Now, if your wine has less than 7% ABV, then it doesn’t fall under TTB's regular definition of “wine.” In this case, the FDA steps in. Their labelling rules are more food-oriented, so you might find requirements like Nutrition Facts Panels and ingredient statements.


Quick Tip: For many alcoholic beverage companies, these FDA labelling requirements might be new territory. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself or seek guidance to ensure compliance.


Producing alcoholic beverages in the U.S. involves understanding and navigating the regulations set by both the FDA and TTB. Ensuring your facility is registered and your labels are compliant will keep your drinks flowing and your customers informed!

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