captnKB

distilled versus produced and bottled

42 posts in this topic

There seem to be more and more craft spirits appearing on the local liquor store shelf that proclaim on the bottle that the spirit was distilled and bottled by this distillery. When i have visited some of these distilleries and pressed questions it turns out their vodka that proclaims distilled and bottled by actually is bulk GNS and their gin is bulk GNS that was redistilled. But on their bottle is say Distilled and Bottled.

Im interested to hear others opinion on whether or not distilleries should be able to do this.

It this legal?

If it is legal then is it time to change the laws to require more truth in labeling?

If it is not legal how are distilleries getting away with deceitful marketing?

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"The best and most straightforward real solution though would be a mandate that all labels include a clear designation of where the spirit was distilled, and where it was bottled."

Totally on board with this — esp. if the requirement was that such a statement must be made clearly on the front label. I don't see how any consumer would not also be in favor of this. Tiny lettering on the back of a label that requires a consumer to squint and understand the difference between 'distilled by' vs. 'produced by'... Wtf kind of solution is that?!?!?! Unless of course one is a non-distiller producer and is enjoying significant sales from a consumer base that believes that it is buying a locally distilled product.

For the amount of money that we shovel over to the government via federal excise tax, I sure as shit wish they would look at a proper solution (possibly something similar to what's suggested in that article) to this issue.

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Hey all,

Look to the Standards of Identity to assist in this conversation as well, and please be careful on limiting the entire discussion to "distilled" topics. For example there are spirits that are perfectly legit to produce at a distillery, that are genuinely crafted onsite, yet cannot claim Distilled...such as:

  • Cream liqueurs
  • Applejack (and other spirits produced not by distillation)

One thing to remember is that DSP stands for "Distilled Spirits Plant", not Distillery (in point of fact, look below to the TTB definition which specifically does not mention "distilling" as a process, rather using the all inclusive "rectify".

I know that puts a monkey wrench in a lot of people's gears considering their desire to define craft, small, independent, etc, etc, etc. However, if you limit your discussion and focus to the word "distilled" you have the unintended consequence of potentially limiting your entire production methodology of products that you genuinely produce, yet are not distilled.

And before people start throwing stones, I agree with specifying on labels the source and production methodology, I'm just encouraging you to think inclusive of the entire process of owning a DSP and not just the word "distilled".

Cheers,

McKee

From the TTB:

A distilled spirits plant (DSP) may be established to produce, bottle, rectify, process or store beverage spirits. Examples of beverage distilled spirits include neutral spirits or alcohol (i.e. vodka or grain spirits), whiskey, gin, brandy, blended applejack, rum, Tequila, cordials and liqueurs.

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A local "craft" distillery does this with their "bourbon" even though they just opened this year. They do mention that is aged in Kentucky, but they transfer it to a barrel for a little longer to say they had a part in the aging process and say its "distilled with uncompromising quality". The bulk spirits they buy actually taste decent, but the white whiskey they produce in their DSP taste horrible. Also, I was under the impression that only a spirit distilled in the DSP could be served in the attached cocktail room (otherwise there isn't much difference than a bar?). It really irritates me. Not only for the misinformation, but for the reason that they are a competitors and have success due to deception. This deception makes all "craft" distilleries not look so crafty.

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ISkiebae,

Some thoughts:

  • Spot on with the "craft distilleries not looking so crafty".
  • With regard tasting room rules, that's all dependent upon local and state regs, not Federal....which is where the rules for "Distilled by" come from. So what might be the case for your state might not be in other states.
  • Finally, one note on the bourbon comment (which was why I suggested that the Standards of Identity be part of this discussion). Bourbon can be called so immediately after touching new cooperage. Meaning, one can sell a clear bourbon if one so chooses. No, it can't be called "straight" which requires 2 years in a barrel, or sold in the EU as whiskey which requires 3 years in a barrel.....but it can be called Bourbon so long as it aged at least 1 second in a new barrel. http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter4.pdf. So imagine competing in the marketplace with "clear looking" spirits that are called Bourbon...because it can happen.

So I guess what I'm continuing to caution is that there are so many ways to skin a cat in beverage production that we're always going to be finding and identifying the "bad actors" while simultaneously highlighting the best of the best. But the rules will never have a "craft" or "micro" certification that can't be gamed.....so we need to work within the rules of the game that we play and do our best to be the "good actors".

Cheers,

McKee

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John, I agree with you on most counts.

As you eluded to above... If a dsp chooses to bring to market a 5min. matured bourbon, they can do so within federal regulations. It's weird for sure, but unless the standards of identity are amended to require a minimum maturation for "bourbon", it makes sense to me. What does NOT make sense to me is the lack of TTB regulation for a dsp to claim boldly on their packaging, for example, "Colorado Bourbon", when the juice was distilled in Indiana and "produced" in colorado.

I was recently shut down on a cola application for a product that I would like to market as 'Single Malt Gin'. It's a gin made from a 100% malted barley. The reasoning I received for the rejection was, "You may not make false or misleading statements on labels.". Cool story TTB agent (I'm currently discussing my case with her)... but wouldn't you think that labeling an Indiana sourced bourbon as colorado bourbon would fit squarely within the definition of "misleading"?

I'm pretty sure Tennessee and Kentucky are the only 2 states with an appellation - which comes with regulation of state name in the labeling of a product. The TTB's permissibility of state name usage on a whiskey label without the spirit being distilled in-state is complete bunk, and it's certainly opens the door for "misleading statements". I get why many NDP's opt to put their home state on the label of out-of-state sourced juice and reap the sales benefits of a consumers belief they are buying a home-town whiskey. Super disingenuous but a smart business move since our government currently chooses not to regulate that aspect of labeling.

It's my opinion that, while there might never be "craft" or "micro" certification, the TTB should start to better regulate a designation for where the spirit was distilled and bottled.

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There seem to be more and more craft spirits appearing on the local liquor store shelf that proclaim on the bottle that the spirit was distilled and bottled by this distillery. When i have visited some of these distilleries and pressed questions it turns out their vodka that proclaims distilled and bottled by actually is bulk GNS and their gin is bulk GNS that was redistilled. But on their bottle is say Distilled and Bottled.

Im interested to hear others opinion on whether or not distilleries should be able to do this.

It this legal?

If it is legal then is it time to change the laws to require more truth in labeling?

If it is not legal how are distilleries getting away with deceitful marketing?

Back to the original question for VODKA and GIN: it is legal. It is true. The feds use the term "distilled" to mean BOTH distilled and redistilled. You will likely never get that changed for GIN: all your London Dry Gins are redistilled from GNS (must be by law), and many makers don't distill their own GNS.

So, perhaps the question is, how best to designate on your bottle that the product was distilled from fermented product? Good question.

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Maybe the label should say:

Milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, barreled, proofed, bottled by

That should about cover it....

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post-962-0-27638200-1454415756_thumb.jpg

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ISkiebae,

Some thoughts:

  • Spot on with the "craft distilleries not looking so crafty".
  • With regard tasting room rules, that's all dependent upon local and state regs, not Federal....which is where the rules for "Distilled by" come from. So what might be the case for your state might not be in other states.
  • Finally, one note on the bourbon comment (which was why I suggested that the Standards of Identity be part of this discussion). Bourbon can be called so immediately after touching new cooperage. Meaning, one can sell a clear bourbon if one so chooses. No, it can't be called "straight" which requires 2 years in a barrel, or sold in the EU as whiskey which requires 3 years in a barrel.....but it can be called Bourbon so long as it aged at least 1 second in a new barrel. http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter4.pdf. So imagine competing in the marketplace with "clear looking" spirits that are called Bourbon...because it can happen.

So I guess what I'm continuing to caution is that there are so many ways to skin a cat in beverage production that we're always going to be finding and identifying the "bad actors" while simultaneously highlighting the best of the best. But the rules will never have a "craft" or "micro" certification that can't be gamed.....so we need to work within the rules of the game that we play and do our best to be the "good actors".

Cheers,

McKee

Ok thanks, I didn't realize that was local/state on what was allowed in a cocktail room. I guess that makes sense, however, as cocktail rooms are fairly new to the state.

Yeah, I see what your saying on the age statements/requirements of bourbon. I was talking more along the lines of them selling bourbon they didn't produce and rebarreling. It had already hit new white oak in Kentucky.

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Love the label Pete! complete transparency

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It seems to me that to simply require every bottle of spirits regardless of type of spirits to state

Distilled by [Distillery], in [City], [state]. Redistilled and/or Bottled by [Company], in [City], [state].

is a simple straightforward solution to create complete transparency in all spirits

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post-962-0-29691500-1454468931_thumb.jpgOK Hedgebird, if you want to be "pecky", that one was off an earlier newmake bottle

This one is my aged whisky bottle, but look, it appears as if I don't do my own mashing :wacko:

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...But we're the only ones that geek out about this information. The majority of consumers assume it all to be so for most every bottle on the shelf.

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attachicon.gifBelgrove truth (3).jpgOK Hedgebird, if you want to be "pecky", that one was off an earlier newmake bottle

This one is my aged whisky bottle, but look, it appears as if I don't do my own mashing :wacko:

Looks like I can shut my beak now. It really is a nice package and I look forward to the day I can get my hands on a bottle!

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...But we're the only ones that geek out about this information. The majority of consumers assume it all to be so for most every bottle on the shelf.

I AGREE

Looks like I can shut my beak now. It really is a nice package and I look forward to the day I can get my hands on a bottle!

There is a fair chance I will be going to the San Diego Conference and I will load up my bags with whatever will fit.

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I have said it before and I'll say it again, the vast majority of people don't even know what "distilled" means.

"oh this is a distillery? What kind of beer do you make?"

""a distillery" So you make wine."

If you don't believe me go and ask random people yourself. Almost daily I am presented with people who volunteer their ignorance of "distillery". I don't blame them, and I don't care that they don't know. That's why I put "produced by" on my labels, because everyone "knows" that produced by means made by. simple things are the best things.

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I have said it before and I'll say it again, the vast majority of people don't even know what "distilled" means.

"oh this is a distillery? What kind of beer do you make?"

""a distillery" So you make wine."

If you don't believe me go and ask random people yourself. Almost daily I am presented with people who volunteer their ignorance of "distillery". I don't blame them, and I don't care that they don't know. That's why I put "produced by" on my labels, because everyone "knows" that produced by means made by. simple things are the best things.

I generally agree with your statement when labeling vodka or any "well spirits", but not for aged spirits, and especially not whiskey. A craft distilled whiskey, labeled "distilled by" is easily worth a $4- premium per bottle within 200 square miles of its home. Outside of that range, it has less of a premium value, but never less than "produced by" except in the rare instance such as Angels Envy.

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Do you guys really think consumers are reading and discerning the fine print?

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Do you guys really think consumers are reading and discerning the fine print?

I think that many consumers who buy craft / micro spirits will read all they can see, except maybe the heath warnings

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Do you guys really think consumers are reading and discerning the fine print?

Yeah, the millennials are, absolutely.

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I you even have intentions,dreams or aspirations on running a nationally distributed product, that product will have to be produced labeled and bottled offsite to handle the volume. So whats the difference?? To the AVERAGE consumer it doesnt matter. Im business first, craft second but thats just me.

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