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Vanilla Extract

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I am trying to think of ways to get our name out to places that we are unable to sell our bottled alcohol at.

In TX, we can't sell our vodka at Artisan/Farmers markets, we have a stract 3 tier system, except for bottle sales in our tasting room. I assume giving away samples at such locations that do not actually resell our product is probably not going to net many new sales if they have to go find our product after sampling at an event.

I'm toying with the idea of making Vanilla Extract from our Vodka and selling in 4 or 8 oz bottles with our product name and logo on the bottle. This would allow for us to go to Farmers/Artisan markets that we are currently not allowed to sell our "Vodka" at.

Have any other distiller's tried such an option? What were your results? Thoughts?

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Hypno, I haven't done it with my own distilled spirtis since we're not operational yet, but my wife owns a bakery and sells homemade vanilla extract all the time. She runs to the liquor store and buys their lowest quality/cheapest bourbon and just makes an infusion in a 5 gallon carboy. There's no limit to how much she can sell, when/where she can sell, etc. I assume that as long as you pay the excise tax per proof gallon and report your usage you'll be good to go. Let us know how it works out for you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Vanilla extract is an FDA standard of identity product. You make it by the maceration of vanilla beans in alcohol. To be classified as a nonbeverage product it must meet the FDA standards of identity for vanilla extract. Here is an example of the sort of regulatory morass into which you propose to wade. If after reading it, you still want to give it a short - I don't know why you would since the product must be nonbeverage and so cannot possibly promote your beverage alcohol sales, please contact your local TTB office and let them scratch their heads over the advice to give you.

Vanilla extracts and vanilla flavors are covered within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulations in 21 CFR 169.175 through 169.181. It is important to note that a standard of identity vanilla product must adhere to the criteria outlined in the CFR. If a product does not meet the standard of identity, it will be treated as any other flavor. A few key points regarding the standard of identity are listed below:

  • 1 unit of vanilla beans: 13.35 oz. of beans at 25% moisture
  • 1X vanilla extract: 1 unit per gallon of finished product with a minimum 35% ethanol by volume. The lower end of the range in item 10 defines the minimum.
  • vanilla flavor: 1 unit per gallon of finished product (ethanol < 35% by volume)
  • concentrated vanilla extract: 2 or more units per gallon with a minimum 35% ethanol by volume. The lower end of the range in item 10 defines the minimum.
  • concentrated vanilla flavor: 2 or more units per gallon (ethanol < 35% by volume)

Other ingredients that may be used in a vanilla extract:


propylene glycol (please quantify)

sugar (including invert sugar)


corn syrup

If any other ingredients are used then the product does not meet the standard of identity.

When submitting formulas for vanilla extracts/flavorings, bear the following in mind:

  • Information regarding moisture content of the beans, manufacturing yield, fold, extraction steps, recovered ethanol, and disposal of the spent beans must be included on your submission. We cannot process formula submissions with incomplete information.
  • We subject 1 or 2 fold vanilla extracts to the organoleptic evaluation if they contain greater than 45% (by volume) alcohol. This is because the amount of alcohol is more than is necessary to extract all of the odorous and sapid materials from the vanilla beans.
  • When submitting vanilla extracts, please send a 2 oz sample for chemical analysis.
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