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dhdunbar

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dhdunbar last won the day on August 15

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About dhdunbar

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    Ellensburg, WA
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    Retired from ATF and began consulting for DSP's in 2012. When I'm not working, I like to head outdoors. That can mean simply sitting on the deck reading. Regulation bores me. Helping others deal with it does not.

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  1. dhdunbar

    Processing form Line 13 & 29

    I've got to get to work, but ... Part IV is where TTB collects the information it uses to prepare its statistical reports. Period. I think it has no other use; at least I don't see how it fits into an audit, because I don't see the way to establish an audit trail. Part 1 of the form reports bulk ingredients, as does part IV, column b. So the total dumped in cell 6(b) should equal the total dumped in cell 67(b). But what does that prove? Nothing. I don't know what purpose the comparison makes and the part IV data seems to have no sue other than to inform industry, or any others who may want to know, how many proof gallons of blended light whiskey, for example, were dumped in the month of June. It is purely statistical, but the total of all commodities can can compared to the total dumped. But there is no way to compare the part 2 and part 4 bottled entries. One is in wine gallon s and one in proof gallons. So, unless you bottle everything at the same proof, there is no way to reconcile the two figures short of converting proof gallons to wine gallons from the bottling records. "For what reason?" is a rhetorical question. What you want to ensure is that the dump records for the processing account total to the quantities you show as dumped into the account on the operating report and that the records create a trail back to the materials from which produced, so you have evidence in support of label claim.
  2. dhdunbar

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    Did I mention I don't deal in either COLA or formula submissions? There are reasons for that. Label questions are complicated. Since it appears to the internal controls to ensure that all employees act consistently, the employees sometimes (often/usually) bring their own rules to the game. When people start applying personal interpretations, things are not only complicated, they are complex. You can reason through complicated, but things that are complex are unpredictable. That said - here is a basic rule - don't worry about things like whiskey specialties not being included in some list that lacks the authority of regulation. I repeat, don't worry about that, unless, of course, you must. Let me explain how I reach that conclusion: TTB classifies as TTB will. I lump that into the category of things that "are because TTB says they are" and dismiss the idea of arguing unless necessary.. The numbering system is an unnecessary hodgepodge. So too all those BAM tables. (Yea, a pun does lurk in the homonym suggested). The basic rule YOU follow is you must designate the class and type on the label (5.32). The rules for class and type statements are in 5.35. It provides that if a product does not comport to a standard of identity (5.22), then it is a specialty item and must be labeled as required by 5.35. Applying the rule, what TTB deems a "whisky specialty" is not, in TTB's opinion, a whiskey and does not comport to other standards in 5.22. Now, 5.22 includes a number of class and type standards for products that can include bourbon, or straight bourbon. These include bourbon (5.22(b)(1); a couple of blend variants (5.22(b)(4) and 5.22(b)(5)i)); bourbon liqueurs (5.22(h)(2)); and flavored bourbon (5.22(i)). Add to that the specialties (5.35), which may in some cases be designated in accordance with trade and consumer understanding, and it is a daunting potpourri. I'm not sure how many TTB specialists understand how to split those hairs. And if they can't, how can you or I. But split them, they do, into all those number categories and lists like you find in the BAM and which you may, for most purposes, ignore. Okay, you may need them to determine whether you need a pre-COLA evaluation, but other than that, let TTB deal with it. So, that is how I arrive at the conclusion that is usually best to let TTB sort it out and accept what they say. If what they say somehow takes an iron pipe to the knees of your plans, you can argue with them,. However, given a label approval, in hand, like the one for Parkers discussed above, do you really care how TTB categorizes it as long as they approve it? What difference does it make if they enter 641, 732, or the square root of the average distance to the moon.The only practical difference, it seems, is how you report it on the back of the processing report, which is info TTB collects solely for the purpose of publishing the statistical reports that congress requires. What can be interesting is disagreement between the label people and the formula people. With that I return to, "Did I mention that I don't submit formula or COLA applications? And yes, I know you must. But the best I can do is advise you how to try to maintain sanity while doing that.
  3. dhdunbar

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    The TTB COLA's on line system is not user friendly, but Tom Lenerz nailed it. TTB classifies the product as CT 641, "Whisky Specialty." TTB assigns the code; the applicant does not. Here is the report from the database: and here is a copy of the label as submitted: I mentioned creative. I'll go with the brand name Parkers Heritage Collection, but then TTB , presumably searching the label for anything it can use, assigns "Barrel Finished" as the fanciful name. And the required truthful and accurate statement of composition (5.35), must be what is left, "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Orange Curacao Barrels." TTB allows the statement of composition to be broken, so that it gives the appearance that the spirit is bourbon, which TTB , by its own rules, insists it is not. I've got no argument with that because the consumer is fully informed about the nature of the product in the bottle. If verdicts were mine, I'd say the label is fine. As it is, it is an inventive way around an arbitrary rule that bourbon can't be finished in the same way as rye. It is a way of having your cake and eating it too. That is how it fits.
  4. dhdunbar

    Whiskey Hypothetical

    This is an interesting thread to which I will bring a dose of oh god the boredom of regulation. You make a production gauge. When you do so you have to designate the product. Assume the production methods used meet the production procedures (19.77) you have on file for for bourbon, corn whiskey, and whiskey distilled from bourbon mash and also meet the the grain/proof standards (80% or more corn at not more than 160) for each. Once produced, you must immediately make a production gauge (19.304). The rules for production gauges state, "Spirits in each receiving tank will be gauged before any reduction in proof and both before and after each removal of spirits." (19.289). I read this to say that you can can have more than one removal of spirits ("each removal") from a receiving tank - or more than one receiving tank ("each receiving tank"). So, let's assume, in either case, three gauges, each of which is deemed a separate production gauge (19.304). I see nothing that prohibits you from entering two of those to the storage account, where you put them into a stainless tank and cut them to 125 or less - this must be done after the production gauge (19.289), designating the first "bourbon designate" and the second "whiskey distilled from bourbon mash designate" (19.305). Then, you transfer (19.324) the first to new charred and the second to used oak as "bourbon" and "whiskey distilled from bourbon mash," respectively, and proceed through a nanosecond or more to create age. The spirits in the third gauge go directly to processing, where you bottle them as unaged corn whiskey. I see nothing in the regulations that prohibit that and 19.304, 305, .324 and .289 seem to authorize it. At the least, it would be an interesting challenge to a TTB investigator or auditor who sought to challenge what you did. I think they would lose the argument that you violated any provision of the regulations. The caveat is that your records would have to include the gauge record (19.618 and 19.619) for each of the three production gauges, showing the quantity and designation in each case, and create the trail that would establish that the products are eligible for the designations you give them. Note that I have not mentioned a formula once, although someone's comment above that you have to have a formula for bourbon is correct, not to show what you did to it, but to show that you did nothing to it that would change the class and type under the special rules that apply to bourbon and not to other American type whiskeys. Now, the above discussions about the methods and procedures you use to create the spirits are a lot more interesting, but wasn't the original question :-).
  5. My job is to tell you how you can do something, not why you can't do it. But sometimes, to borrow from Paul Simon, there must be 50 ways that TTB is going to say no to an idea. From contrary to law, to danger to the revenue, to increased costs to the government, to administrative difficulties, to leases of a particular plot of land, to problems with class and type and prior approval of labels for spirit produced from fermented concoctions brought in that morning by interested parties, to construction requirements, to restrictions on where you can obtain distilling material, to ... oh god ... the requirement that places where spirits are stored by equipped for locking, to the requirement that you case spirits when you bottle them, to ... the list, like the beat, goes on. And as a person who knows squat about the art of distilling, I agree with with Silk City, watching a still is pretty damned dull after a minute or so, unless you are trying to learn how to make cuts. And then the FDA is going to get involved, and, and, and .... 🙂.
  6. dhdunbar

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    The rules for bourbon and for other American type whiskeys are not the same, even though they are of the same class and type. This is the result of a policy developed over time. Before TTB issued the ruling on general use formulas, you could not find any mention of the issues, at least as far as I know, in any higher level documents, i.e., documents in which TTB expresses an official position on a matter in a binding way. You could find it, without explanation, in the Beverage Alcohol Manual, but as much as people view that as a biblical source for label information, it does not have the authority of regulation or ruling. Clearly, placing a whiskey, into a used port barrel adds something, color or flavor, to the whiskey. If not, why else go to the trouble, unless, of course, one is searching for a nitch in which to market. At any rate, TTB is willing to accept an argument that finishing malt whiskey, or rye, in used sherry, etc barrels is consistent with established trade usage and so does not change the class and type under the provisions of 5.23. However, it holds bourbon to a different standard. Bourbon is the sacrosanct American type whiskey; it is the distinctive product of the United States. So for reasons which are lost to history - they were never the subject of rulemaking that I know of - TTB appears to limit what TTB will allow before treatment of bourbon transforms it to a specialty which is marketed with a fanciful name and truthful and adequate statement of composition. As I said, I can't explain how TTB makes those connections, but it does. I think it is an evolved position. Notwithstanding that, creative people devise ways of splitting the statement of composition into phrases that appear on separate lines on the label and TTB approves the labels, creating the impression that the product is a bourbon, when the label is approved as a specialty. That said, here is the official position as stated in the general formula ruling, beginning with the explanation and ending with the ruling (See - https://ttb.gov/rulings/2016-3.pdf) Furthermore, Chapter 7 of the Distilled Spirits Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) (TTB P 5110.7 (04/2007)) provides that bourbon whisky may not contain any amount of added coloring, flavoring or blending materials. This reflects the determination by our predecessor agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), that added coloring, flavoring, or blending materials are not customarily employed in the production of bourbon whisky in accordance with established trade usage. Held further, no coloring, flavoring, or blending materials may be used in the production of spirits designated as “bourbon whisky” in accordance with § 5.22(b)(1)(i) or “straight” whisky in accordance with § 5.22(b)(1)(iii). Check, for example, the difference in the TTB approvals for Angels Envy products. You can find them on line in the public COLA database. I think these hair splitting machinations have sometimes eluded the specialists in the past. I think they are now aware of these provisions. But given the ratio of COLA's to specialists, I'm confident some will still slip through. And I doubt that one consumer in a 1000 gives a damn about that issue.
  7. dhdunbar

    Contract Production

    Give me a call at 206-914-0595. I can discuss in 10 minutes what it would take me 30 minutes + to type. Plus, it will prevent misunderstandings. No fee or obligation if it is a short answer, which it should be. I charge consulting fees when it gets complicated. What you propose is not.
  8. dhdunbar

    Label Requirements for Europe

    TTB has a division that can help you understand what is needed to export product to different countries. Here is a start for Italy; https://ttb.gov/itd/italy.shtml Here is the contact information for the division; For more information contact IAD online, by phone at 202-453-2260, or by fax at 202-453-2970. Please direct correspondence to: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade BureauDirector, International Affairs Division1310 G Street, NW, Box 12 Washington, DC 20005
  9. dhdunbar

    Contract Production

    You are asking questions that are best answered by an attorney familiar with the issues around ownership of intellectual property. The agreement into which you enter should contain terms that provide both you and your customer protections. You don't say who the "they" is that want your product under their label. It makes a difference whether they are a retailer or a supplier (distributor or wholesaler). If they are a retailer and they want a gin branded with their name, it seems straightforward. You enter into an agreement to supply the specified product for a specified term. To protect you, the agreement would probably specify that they are purchasing the finished product, not the right to use the formula, etc, whose title rests solely with you, yada yada ... but again, that is something best left to the attorney who draws the contract on your behalf. If I am someone who is purchasing for resale at wholesale, my expectations change. Since I will be investing time and money in developing a brand, I need some assurance that I will be able to supply the market with a consistent product, even if you decide you no longer want to produce it for me. I would not enter into the agreement unless I had assurances that I held a right to use the formula to produce product if you terminated production.
  10. dhdunbar

    Question about samples and TTB

    No - the person giving out samples does not have to be even known to TTB. You must report only persons who are principals in the business. See Section 19.93 for info on who must be included on the TTB application. As you suspect, all of the rules you ask about are state matters only. States have different requirements. Generally persons who serve must have completed mandatory state training. on serving rules. Remember, all samples must served and all sales made off the DSP premise . Therefore, all samples served to the public must be served from bottles on which tax has been determined.
  11. You are correct. The standard for the "whiskey distilled from " designations does not require storage at 125 or less. Used containers, yes, but not 125 or less. I broke my own rule. I didn't look before leaping. I just spouted from memory. That is a dangerous practice. Thanks
  12. dhdunbar

    Is owning a separate bar prohibited?

    Some ambiguity allows for flexibility. That is not always a bad thing. But when a word means "very near," according to Mr. Webster, and which could have been used alone, but is nevertheless modified by "close," the authors presumably wanted to modify "very" with, well, "very." That is, very,, very near. Therefore, I suspect that it means something like within the same block. not just within the same city or town. But I'm guessing, of course.
  13. Let me be the cynic here. Because TTB has approved labels formatted in so many different ways, you flat out can't make any statement about what is "right" and what is "wrong" based on what TTB has approved or denied. Further, you do not declare the class and type when you submit the application for label approval. TTB does that. TTB enters the information onto the form. So, they may assign two different class and type categories to products that have essentially the same label. This keeps life an interesting guess. You can probably find precedent for about anything, including one go around in which TTB insisted, over the objection of the distiller - a major by the way- that a certain spirit distilled at 140 proof was a neutral spirits. Horses of all colors escape from the TTB label corral. The discussion here involves three questions: 1. What is the proper designation for the product 2. How must it be stated on the label 3. Where must the information appear. What is the proper designation My take on this (and it is mine, not TTB's) is that a whiskey distilled from 51% or more of malt at 160 proof or less, stored in used oak containers at 125 proof or less, and bottled at not less than 80 proof, is, under the standards of 5.22(b)(2) "Whiskey Distilled From Malt Mash." The class is whiskey, the type is whiskey distilled from malt mash. Under the definition of the term "age," it whiskey distilled from malt mash acquires age by storage in used oak. The term "single malt" is meaningless on American whiskies. On Scotch it means that all of the product came from a single distillery. There is no American equivalent, although the state of distillation is mandatory information (5.32(b)(10) if the whiskey was not distilled in the same state as shown on the required name and address statement (5.36(d)) and may be stated on any label. The mandatory statement of class and type (5.35) requires, as bluestar states, that " the class and type of distilled spirits shall be stated in conformity with §5.22 if defined therein. "Whiskey distilled from malt mash" is defined in 5.22, so that is the required class and type statement on a product that conforms to the standard. How must the designation be stated on the label The closest I can come to a rule on how you can break up the statement of class and type occurs in 5.33(b)(4), which provides, "Statements of the type of distilled spirits shall be as conspicuous as the statement of the class to which it refers, and in direct conjunction therewith." The term "direct conjunction" is a bit of a bother. Since conjunction means, in this sense, "occurring together in space," direct conjunction must mean more than that. Section 5.37, which provides rules for alcohol statements, defines the term "direction conjunction,' parenthetically, to mean "with no intervening material." If we accept that as the definition of the term as it used throughout part 5, then we can state the class (whiskey) and the type (whiskey distilled from malt mash," on separate lines, as long as there is no intervening material, which I take to mean more than space. Therefore, as statement of the sort Whiskey (Class) Whiskey Distilled From Malt Mash (Type) is arguably acceptable as the required class and type statement, where the type statement appears in direction conjunction with the class statement. When we put the term "malt" before the class statement "Whiskey, " we get to play Philadelphia lawyer games. Is the phrase "single malt whiskey" misleading, since "Malt Whiskey" is a type of whiskey and the bottle obviously does not contain a whiskey that conforms to that standard. Put another way, is the term "malt whiskey" taken, in this context, a compound noun, or is malt a separate modifier, like single, that is not a part of a compound noun. I said Philadelphia lawyer, did I not. Such silliness. These sort of arguments drive me nuts. In this case, the argument that it is compound noun and therefore likely to mislead, presumes that the consumer actually knows all of the fine distinctions the rules draw. But is there really anything more or less misleading about this form: Single Malt Whiskey Whiskey Distilled from Malt Mash than our arguable acceptable label? I think the public COLA registry shows plenty of examples of the latter, which, if they are properly approved, demonstrate that TTB finds it is not misleading. On the other hand, it just may be that TTB specialists, like the consumer, just don't know. Here is yet another alternative: Single Malt Whiskey, Whiskey Distilled from Malt Mash or perhaps Single Malt Whiskey Distilled from Malt Mash or yet again Single Malt Whiskey Distilled from Malt Mash or ... forget it. Like I said, silliness. Submit the label. See what happens.
  14. dhdunbar

    Is owning a separate bar prohibited?

    to blufish_dist's point - the rules vary from state to state and there is not a one of us here, I'll wager dollars to donuts, who can tell the rules in more than a few states. From my experience I'm aware of what the rules were, at the time of my interest, in maybe five states, but I'd have to check for changes since I looked and confirm that my understanding is consistent with the way the ABC interprets what is said. Again, go to the appropriate agency and ask them. It took me five minutes to find this online in the Missouri Department of Public Safety ATC website: This three-tier system requires separate licenses for suppliers, wholesalers and retailers, and, with certain limited exceptions, prohibits distillers, winemakers, brewers, wholesalers or their employees from having a financial interest in the retail sale of intoxicating liquor. This three-tier system of distribution of alcoholic beverages protects against tied houses and exclusive outlets, protects against anti-competitive and monopolistic practices, fosters a stable industry, provides an orderly method for the collection of millions of dollars in state excise taxes each year and provides for a system of sound liquor control. I didn't go hunting for the certain exceptions. I'll leave that to you.
  15. dhdunbar

    Is owning a separate bar prohibited?

    Federal law allows a producer to own 100% of a retailer. Less than 100% ownership creates potential tied house violations. However, there are substantial hurdles to TTB proving a tied house case, for example, need to show that the suppler's acts caused exclusion of products offered for sale by others in interstate commerce. Those hurdles require time and effort (I know that because I have been there and done that successfully with the likes of major brewers and distillers) and no one in TTB, in their right mind, is going to go fishing for small fry like you when there are giant tunas to be had in major markets. So you are probably immune from TTB scrutiny. States are a different matter. States which have tied house laws, and most have some sort of tied house law, often are not encumbered by things like exclusion. Some are - in Washington they must show undue influence, whatever that may mean. But were a state is not encumbered, the prohibition is often absolute. Now, as to creative navigation - states will likely have a different name for it. Try "fraud" on for size. You don't want to piss off state licensing authorities. It can be expensive, in dollars, time, worry, and licensing problems. To whit, if Warren Buffet caved to the Texas ABC and stopped selling alcohol in Flying J stops, because Berkshire Hathaway also owns a 20% state in a Mexican brewery, you have to believe there was no creative way through those waters for you. He had access to all of the top attorneys and lobbyists and elected not to make a fight of it. If you want to be a craft distiller, don't endanger that by trying to play clever games in waters through which Berkshire Hathaway, with all of its financial and political resources, can't find a safe channel. My best advise - Go the the state ABC, tell them exactly what you want to do, don't be coy or clever, conceal nothing, and do as they say.
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