Potential TTB Updates to Alcohol Labeling Requirements

alcoholic beverage bottles on a shelf

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently announced potential updates to the federal alcohol labeling requirements for 2024. The changes, if accepted, would affect the labeling and advertising rules for wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverage brands. As a company dedicated to supporting your success with custom label printing for alcoholic beverages, we want to make sure you’re aware of important developments that could impact your business. Here’s what you need to know:

What is the TTB?

The TTB, or the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It oversees the enforcement of laws and regulations related to the production, distribution, and labeling of alcoholic beverages in the United States. In addition to working with them to obtain permits and pay taxes, the TTB issues guidelines to ensure consumer safety and prevent misleading information through labeling regulations.

Potential Changes on the Horizon for Alcohol Labeling Requirements

According to a recent notice published by the TTB in the Federal Register, the agency is considering several key updates to the current alcohol labeling guidelines. The TTB has provided standards in the past for voluntary disclosures of these items on alcohol labels. Now, the TTB is considering whether this information should be required on all alcoholic beverages instead.

These changes aim to address:

  • Alcohol Content Disclosure: Adjustments to how alcohol content must be displayed on wine, distilled spirits, and beer labels. These changes will potentially standardize formats across all beverage types for clarity.
  • Health Claims and Food Allergens: Introduction of mandatory health warning statements, including disclosure of major food allergens.
  • Ingredient Information: More detailed ingredient listings to aid in consumer transparency and to avoid misleading consumers.

These considerations reflect the TTB’s commitment to adapting to industry trends, technological advancements, and consumer safety needs.

Please note that these are just proposed changes, and the TTB is actively seeking feedback from the industry and the public.

Impact on Businesses and Consumers

For businesses in the wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverage industries, these regulation changes could cause them to reevaluate their current labeling and packaging strategies. Specifically:

  • Design and Printing Costs: Updating labels to comply with new guidelines may incur additional design and printing expenses. Staying up to date on any new alcohol labeling requirements can help mitigate costs and transition smoothly.
  • Consumer Perception: Enhanced transparency and consistency in labeling could positively influence consumer trust and brand loyalty. Buyers increasingly value clarity about the products they consume.
  • Market Readiness: Early adaptation to these guidelines will position your business as a market leader in compliance and consumer safety, potentially gaining a competitive edge with consumers.
man reading beer bottle label in a grocery store

Join the Conversation: TTB Listening Sessions on Alcohol Labeling Requirements Update

To gather public feedback, the TTB has scheduled two listening sessions. These forums provide a valuable opportunity for business owners, public interest groups, and health stakeholders to voice concerns, seek clarifications, and influence the final regulations.

In April 2023, Executive Order 14094, encouraged agencies like the TTB to provide opportunities for public participation in regulatory actions. The goal is to promote equitable and meaningful participation by a range of interested or affected parties, including underserved communities.

Topics for Public Comment

To prepare for the listening sessions, the TTB has created a list of questions so you can leave comments. They highly encourage you to explain your rationale and provide supporting documents in your response.

1. Do consumers believe that they are adequately informed by the information currently provided on alcoholic beverage labels?

2. Is alcohol content per serving, and nutritional information per serving important for consumers in deciding whether to purchase or consume a particular alcoholic beverage? Would a full list of ingredients influence consumer purchasing or consumption decisions? Is this information useful, or could it be misleading? Is some of this information more important than others?

3. What types of per-serving nutritional information, such as calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, should be included?

4. Would requiring this information on labels be expected to increase the cost of the products, and, if so, by how much? How many businesses are already following voluntary guidelines for this information? Are there alternative ways to provide this information to consumers (via website URL or QR code) on the beverage label?

5. How would any new mandatory labeling requirements particularly affect small businesses and new businesses entering the marketplace?

How to Participate in the TTB Virtual Listening Sessions

Please note that attendance at the listening sessions will be capped depending on webinar capacity limitations. Here’s how to register:

TTB will hold virtual listening sessions on February 28, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, and on February 29, 2024, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Click here to register for either of the free virtual listening sessions. Registration closes at 12 p.m. EST on February 27, 2024. Any changes to the event will be posted on TTB’s website and registrants will receive a link to join the event(s).

Requests to Speak: You can submit a request to speak during one of the sessions by 12 p.m. EST on February 26, 2024. This is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the TTB will notify speakers of when they are ordered to speak.

Submitting Comments: You can submit comments on the website or via mail in response to the questions above. You do not have to register to speak in order to submit written comments on this docket.

Transcripts: If you are unable to attend the virtual listening sessions, transcripts will be available in Docket No. TTB–2024–0002 on the website.

You can access all of the details for the virtual listening sessions on the website.

Your Voice Matters

If you’re in the wine, distilled spirits, or malt beverage industry, we encourage you to learn more about the proposed changes to alcohol labeling requirements. Also, consider attending the virtual listening sessions to voice your concerns and suggestions at the end of this month.

By staying informed and actively engaging with the TTB, you can help shape the future of alcohol labeling regulations and ensure they support both responsible consumer choices and the success of your business.

Remember, we’re here to help! As your trusted partner for custom label printing and folding carton packaging solutions, at Sttark, our goal is to help keep you informed with any developments in labeling regulations.

Share this article with other alcoholic beverage businesses in the industry to help them stay informed!

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