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American Single Malt Whiskey

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In addition to the webinar:

Tater-Talk: Age statements on straight whiskies are now meaningless

Quote

 

27 CFR 5.40 (e) (2) regarding Miscellaneous Age Representations and pointed out the sections that have been bolded:

If any age, maturity, or similar representation is made relative to any distilled spirits (such representations for products enumerated in paragraph (d) of this section are prohibited), the age shall also be stated on all labels where such representation appears, and in a manner substantially as conspicuous as such representation: Provided. That the use of the word “old” or other word denoting age, as part of the brand name, shall not be deemed to be an age representation: And provided further, That the labels of whiskies and brandies (except immature brandies) not required to bear a statement of age, and rum and Tequila aged for not less than 4 years, may contain general inconspicuous age, maturity or similar representations without the label bearing an age statement.

 

 

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On 9/3/2018 at 7:53 PM, saaz said:

@bluestar

You only have to use an age statement if you make claim of "aging" whiskey on your label. The TTB put on web conference this year on Whiskey and that was covered in the webinar. According to Sarah Johnson - Sr Labeling Specialist you only need an age statement if you make a claim of aging on the label. We have tired to use the word rest and then they wanted us to put an age statement on the label. It's not that we are trying to be sleezebag's. We vat 15 gallon barrels with 30's. Of course the 30's have much more age on them. The process is confusing to most consumers. Leaving it off the label is a better way to handle it. 

Here is a link to the Webinar. 

https://zoom.us/recording/play/6ZUjUjTlis0MVXoxqZ6vlE2y6nqaR2CLZhko4XN-1uaF3807DgXBeMF__GiVXbeD?continueMode=true

I just reviewed Sarah's presentation. You are INCORRECT. She states clearly, and the viewgraph clearly shows, that whiskey must have an age statement if it is less than four years old, and if it is a blend of different ages, the age is that of the youngest in the blend, and an age statement is not required IF AND ONLY IF all of the whiskies in the blend are older than four years. SORRY! In the question and answer period, there is a question about dates of distillation, and she points out that if a date is there, you have to have a storage method statement (for example, stored 5 years in oak barrels: essentially an age statement), and in that case, the date of distillation does not have to be there, it can be left off. That is NOT saying you don't need age statements for whiskies under 4 years.

So, if you are currently selling any whiskies with content less than four years old and are not putting an age statement on the label, you are breaking federal laws and you are carrying out fraud on your customers. PERIOD.

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And since many people evidently can't read and understand the CFR or the BAM, the TTB also provides this in their FAQ:

Is an age statement required on a whisky label?
The TTB regulations at 27 CFR 5.40(a) require an age statement on the label of any whisky that has not been aged for at least four years. This requirement applies to any whisky produced by mixing or blending if the youngest whisky in the mixture or blend has been aged for less than four years. An age statement is optional for any whisky that is four years old or more, unless the label makes a representation as to age or maturity. See 27 CFR 5.40(e)(2) for rules applying to age, maturity, and similar representations.

What is the "age" of a whisky?
The TTB regulations at 27 CFR 5.11 define the term "age" to mean the period during which, after distillation and before bottling, distilled spirits have been stored in oak containers. For bourbon whisky, rye whisky, wheat whisky, malt whisky, or rye malt whisky, and for straight whisky other than straight corn whisky, the "age" is the period during which the whisky has been stored in charred new oak containers.

Do the format rules for mandatory age statements also apply to optional age statements?
The regulations at 27 CFR 5.40(a)(5) provide that optional age statements must appear in the same form as required statements. See 27 CFR 5.40 and Chapter 8 of the Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) for additional information about optional age statements.

What information must be included in an age statement?
The age of the whisky must be stated in hours, days, months, or years, as appropriate. The age may be understated, but the age may not be overstated. See 27 CFR 5.40(a)(4) for the requirements regarding disclosure of aging in reused barrels for certain products.

How should age be stated if the whisky consists of a mixture or blend of whiskies with different ages?
If the whisky contains no neutral spirits, the age must be stated either as the age of the youngest whisky, or as a statement that includes the age of each whisky in the mixture or blend, and the percentage of that whisky in the mixture or blend. If percentages are listed, they must be based on the percentage of the finished product, on a proof gallon basis, contributed by each listed whisky, and the percentages listed must add up to 100%. If the whisky contains neutral spirits, see 27 CFR 5.40(a)(2) for rules that apply to statements of age and percentage.

Can the age statement include minimum or maximum ages?
As noted above, age may be understated, but may not be overstated. A minimum age (such as "aged at least __ years") is acceptable, but a maximum age (such as "aged for less than ___ years") is not acceptable.

I am bottling a straight whisky that consists of one straight whisky that has been aged for 3 years and another straight whisky that has been aged for 2 years. The older whisky makes up 60% of the mixture, on a proof gallon basis, and the younger whisky makes up the remaining 40%. Can I simply label the product as having been "Aged for less than 4 years"?
No. The statement "aged for less than 4 years" does not satisfy the requirements of 27 CFR 5.40 for an age statement, and it creates a misleading impression as to the age of the product. You may choose to label the product with an age statement that reflects the age of the youngest whisky ("Aged 2 years") or you can set out the percentage of each whisky, with its age (60% straight whisky aged 3 years; 40% straight whisky aged 2 years").

What are examples of acceptable formats for age statements?
The following formats are acceptable:
_____ years old.
____ months old.
Aged _____ years.
Aged at least ____ years.
Aged a minimum of ____ months.
Over ____ years old.
Aged not less than ____ years.
___% whisky aged __ years; __% whisky aged ___ years.

What are examples of age statements that are not acceptable?
TTB will not approve labels with the following age statements, because they list a maximum age instead of a minimum age, and thus may mislead consumers as to the age of the product:
Aged less than ____ years.
Under ____ years old.
Aged not more than ____ years.

Last reviewed/updated 12/29/2014

 

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18 hours ago, SchieferP1 said:

DUH! It does NOT say it does not require an age statement! The item quoted is saying that the closing clause of the sentence applies to those whiskies that DON'T require an age statement (such as whiskies older than four years old). The article you reference repeatedly mentions an age statement is not required for whiskies OLDER than four years, but not younger. You need to read carefully.

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For others reading here to learn correct requirements: what @SchieferP1 has posted is incorrect, and his references actually contradict or at least do not support his assertion that whiskies younger than 4 years old do not require an age statement.

(PS, next day: it was @saaz not @SchieferP1 that made the original incorrect post about whiskies younger than 4 years old not requiring an age statement).

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Whoa pump the brakes @bluestar. Nothing I posted was incorrect nor was it intended as anything other than additional information about age statements. The article discusses the use of the following age statement “perfectly aged for up to six to eight years”. The article also supplies reference to other areas in the CFR on age statement.

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What's so difficult about this? If your whiskey is under 4 years of age you need an age statement. 

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18 hours ago, SchieferP1 said:

Whoa pump the brakes @bluestar. Nothing I posted was incorrect nor was it intended as anything other than additional information about age statements. The article discusses the use of the following age statement “perfectly aged for up to six to eight years”. The article also supplies reference to other areas in the CFR on age statement.

First, my apology to @SchieferP1, because I confused his reply as a continuation of a comment from @saaz (they have the same generic avatar). It was @saaz that made the statement that an age statement was not required for a whiskey less than four years old.

But, regarding your reference, no, not quite, what the article is discussing is what wordings are NOT considered an age statement, and specifically, the phrase you cite, is one that is a candidate that might be considered NOT an age statement, if used for a whiskey WITHOUT an age statement. 

And you wrote "According to Sarah Johnson - Sr Labeling Specialist you only need an age statement if you make a claim of aging on the label". My point was that is not quite what she said. My reading (listening) is that is so for a whiskey older than four years old. So, I AM claiming that some of the things you posted are incorrect, albeit that could be because your wording was imprecise, rather than explicit intent. But maybe I misunderstood, maybe you were trying to point out what I think she said: that an age statement MAY BE required even for a whiskey that is more than four years old, if other references to age are made on the label?

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Bluestar & Indy - thanks for fighting through the insanity !

Prost 

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