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News on American Single Malt - TTB will post notice of proposed rulemaking tomorrow


jocko

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All,

Assume many of you may know this, but if not, I got this email from DISCUS today:

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We’re pleased to announce that the Bureau will publish the long-awaited American Single Malt Whisky standard of identity notice of proposed rulemaking tomorrow in the Federal Register. Comments in this rulemaking will be due on September 27th. 

 

In this rulemaking, TTB is proposing to amend the whisky standard of identity in § 5.143(c) by adding American Single Malt Whisky as a type of whisky in paragraph (15). TTB is proposing that American Single Malt Whisky could be stored in any oak barrel (used, uncharred new, or charred new) not exceeding 700 liters, as the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission and petitioners had requested. Of note, though, it does appear that TTB has not expressly incorporated the allowance for the use of grains other than barley if appropriately disclosed on the label (e.g., American Single Malt Rye Whisky), which we have advocated for in the past (and is supported by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission). 

 

TTB’s proposed American Single Malt Whiskey definition is as follows: 

 

§ 5.143 Whisky.
(b) * * * “American single malt whisky” must be distilled entirely at one U.S. distillery, and must be mashed, distilled, and aged in the United States.

 

 

 

If finalized, this amendment to the TTB regulations would revoke by operation of regulation any COLA that uses the term “American single malt whisky” as a designation for a distilled spirits product that does not meet the proposed standard of identity. TTB notes that they have searched their COLA database and do not believe that this rulemaking will affect any existing labels. To minimize the adverse effect on industry members who hold COLAs for labels that conflict with the proposed “American single malt whisky” designation and that would therefore be revoked by operation of regulation, however, TTB states that they could allow for a time-limited use up of such labels by delaying the effective date of the rule establishing this designation. Additionally, TTB specifically seeks comments on the impact on current producers, including whether this rulemaking would affect any existing labels. TTB notes that distillers currently using the designations “malt whisky,” “American malt whisky,” “whisky distilled from malt mash,” or “American whisky distilled from malt mash” on their labels may continue to do so.

 

In addition to comments on the proposed definition, TTB specifically seeks feedback on the following questions:

 

  • Noting that other whisky standards do not incorporate size restrictions for barrels, is a 700-liter limit for oak barrels for aging American single malt whisky necessary or appropriate? 

  • What impact, if any, would this new standard of identity have on current producers of malt whisky?

  • If TTB adopts this proposed amendment, and if any previously approved labels are impacted, for how long should TTB allow the use of previously approved labels for American single malt whisky that do not meet the new standard of identity before they are revoked by operation of regulation?

  • Is it appropriate that the new standard of identity allows the use of used, uncharred new, and charred new oak barrels?

  • Should TTB amend its regulations to allow for the designation “straight” to be used with American Single Malt Whisky?

  • Should the use of coloring, flavoring, or blending materials be allowed in the production of American single malt whisky? If so, what coloring, flavoring, or blending materials are “customarily employed” in the production of American single malt whisky, in accordance with 27 CFR 5.155? Please provide any available evidence of their use.

  • Should TTB amend its regulations to allow for mixtures of American single malt whisky to be labeled as “blended American single malt whisky,” similar to how TTB regulations allow for blended Scotch whisky and blended Canadian whisky to be labeled, respectively, “blended Scotch whisky” and “blended Canadian whisky”?

  • On February 9, 2022, the Department of the Treasury released a report, “Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits,” which was produced in response to Executive Order 14036, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” (86 FR 36987, July 9, 2021). Would the addition of a standard of identity for American Single Malt Whisky affect competition in the alcohol beverage market?

 

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7 hours ago, jocko said:

Should the use of coloring, flavoring, or blending materials be allowed in the production of American single malt whisky? If so, what coloring, flavoring, or blending materials are “customarily employed” in the production of American single malt whisky, in accordance with 27 CFR 5.155? Please provide any available evidence of their use

A very strong NO. We need to make sure that --NO-- Coloring/Flavoring or blending materials are allow. This kind of crap is why Rum doesn't get respect. ASM should be the same as other whiskeys where it is not allowed. Being able to use adulterants and not being required to disclose them will not sit well with consumers. It will hurt the category in the long term and it will be hard to change/recover from it. I'm 100% for people doing what they want with their spirit but IT MUST BE DISCLOSED. Without the transparency consumers will not be able to trust the industry. 

 

7 hours ago, jocko said:

Noting that other whisky standards do not incorporate size restrictions for barrels, is a 700-liter limit for oak barrels for aging American single malt whisky necessary or appropriate? 

I'm a mild no on this but only as there is no standard for other whiskeys. 

7 hours ago, jocko said:

Is it appropriate that the new standard of identity allows the use of used, uncharred new, and charred new oak barrels?

Yes. DO NOT MAKE ME USE NEW OAK. 

7 hours ago, jocko said:

Should TTB amend its regulations to allow for the designation “straight” to be used with American Single Malt Whisky?

Yes. 

7 hours ago, jocko said:

Should TTB amend its regulations to allow for mixtures of American single malt whisky to be labeled as “blended American single malt whisky,” similar to how TTB regulations allow for blended Scotch whisky and blended Canadian whisky to be labeled, respectively, “blended Scotch whisky” and “blended Canadian whisky”?

Yes

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I will be interested is seeing your final regulations. In Australia we don't have a legal definition of Single Malt Whisky but there are some pushing for it. Generally most distillers work along the lines of the Scottish regulations with the exception that quite a few distilleries purchase their fermented wash from breweries. I see your proposed regulations won't allow purchased wash. 

Will your regulations allow continuous distillation?

FYI, Below is an extract from The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009

“Single Malt Scotch Whisky”

that has been distilled at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been—

(i)processed at that distillery into a mash;

(ii)converted at that distillery into a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems; and

(iii)fermented at that distillery only by the addition of yeast;

...................................

“Single Malt Scotch Whisky” means a Scotch Whisky that has been distilled in one or more batches—

(a)at a single distillery;

(b)from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals; and

(c)in pot stills;

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22 hours ago, PeteB said:

I see your proposed regulations won't allow purchased wash. 

Are you sure?  The mash must be produced in the US (one proposed arm of the reg) and it must be distilled all in the same US distillery (another proposed arm).  These two arms would not preclude the use of purchased domestic beer, by my reading.

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On re-reading I see there is a suggestion that purchased wash/beer should be allowed.

 

Also, I did notice in that link

a) The class whisky. “Whisky” or “whiskey” is distilled spirits that is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of any grain

"any grain" is a very loose term. Scottish regs say cereal grain = family Poaceae.

Legumes, pulses and definitely sand can be described as grains.

 

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Very interesting that pseudocereals are allowed.

I must re-read the Scottish definition, I am almost certain that they are not allowed.

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