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sampling retail space in distillery


Rickdiculous

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So I just got this from the TTB agent reviewing my application:

3) A DSP needs to have complete physical separation from the sampling/tasting area for both bonded and general premises because it will most likely involve the retail sales of alcohol which by law cannot be done on distillery premises. This would require a separate entrance from the outside and 4 walls around the sampling/tasting area. The sales of most other merchandise can be done on distillery general premises. It needs to be treated as a completely separate business. On the diagram I don’t see that the tasting bar has its own entrance.

I have been in a number of distilleries where the sampling and retail bottle sales are in the same space as the distillery with no other separation from the production facility than a pony wall or caution tape on floor or some similar deliniation. If you have accomplished this would you care to share how you got TTB approval for this. Feel free to PM me. Thanks for you help in advance.

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I can tell you that I have been to two different distilleries here in my state (Arizona), and noticed this as well. One of them actually has a refrigerator (with samples in it) plugged in mere feet from the equipment, with no separation at all. So many violations we lost count. Limited to no explosion proof plugs or pumps/motors as well. All I can think is that the TTB hasn't done any inspections, and the plan they originally filed LOOKED legit. I am going through the same process right now with the state, and while they have been nothing but helpful and cordial, no exceptions have been made on their account, and every "t" is crossed and "i" is dotted.

I have although seen some separated with a chain link fence as well, and while that look never peaked my interest, I always wondered how they pulled that off.

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Rick, keep me posted on this as well. I got the same response, when I asked for clarification on the "most likely includes sales of alcohol" I was directed to a generic questions e-mail at the TTB where I've been waiting on a reply for about a week or so.

Rick and I are both in Minnesota where bottle sales are not currently permitted therefore "most likely includes sales" is more like "absolutely no sales". Therefore I don't see why we can't sample in the DSP?

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Rick, keep me posted on this as well. I got the same response, when I asked for clarification on the "most likely includes sales of alcohol" I was directed to a generic questions e-mail at the TTB where I've been waiting on a reply for about a week or so.

Rick and I are both in Minnesota where bottle sales are not currently permitted therefore "most likely includes sales" is more like "absolutely no sales". Therefore I don't see why we can't sample in the DSP?

I am very interested to hear more from both you and Rick. My first thought when I read the response was, what about states where no legal sales can be made? It would be great if TTB could provide a reference to the federal law that says distilleries cannot sell their own spirits on premise. I thought that was a state by state issue?

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They have to be physically secured from each other. Originally, we thought it was just the issue of bonded versus unbonded space, but that is not so. The DSP can have no retail activity in it. That others have been allowed to do otherwise does not make it legal, sadly. TTB is still catching up with poor prior interpretations.

But you CAN access the DSP THROUGH the retail space. The requirement for the DSP is that it has direct access to the outside via property owned (controlled) by the distillery, but it does not have to be general or bonded premise. So, put up a wall, put a door in the wall with proper locks, and you should be OK.

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For those waiting on a response,

This is the rule currently being used for the statment from the TTB.

§ 19.52 Restrictions on location of plants.

A person who intends to establish a distilled spirits plant may not locate it in any of the following places:

(a) In any residence, shed, yard, or enclosure connected to a residence;

(B) On any vessel or boat;

© Where beer or wine is produced;

(d) Where liquors are sold at retail; or

(e) Where any other business is conducted except as provided in § 19.54.

Above (d) clearly states you can't have a DSP where Liquors are sold at retail. Luckily for me I have two other buildings I can use for this purpose so we are choosing to remove the tasting/sampling/retail space from the DSP. I have also been told that if you charge for the tour/tasting that is the same as selling retail. If you are not charging for the sample/tasting or selling, bottles at retail you may be able to do that. I won't go into the research I did throught 19.54 as you can all follow a chaing of this applying to that in the code.

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Several times I've seen retail rooms attached to the distillery by a door. In another case a barn's upper floor was outfitted for retail, while the lower level was a distillery, with a stairway between and at most a little chain preventing tourists from entering the distillery.

It's a rule the SEEMS to be not rigidly enforced ... until it is.

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Several times I've seen retail rooms attached to the distillery by a door. In another case a barn's upper floor was outfitted for retail, while the lower level was a distillery, with a stairway between and at most a little chain preventing tourists from entering the distillery.

It's a rule the SEEMS to be not rigidly enforced ... until it is.

That is fine as long as the door between has a TTB approved lock, AND there's a separate entrance to the distillery.

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I received this answer from the TTB today.

In short sampling in the bonded area is not allowed.

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The reason the regulations require that the sampling/tasting area be completely separated from both the bonded and general premises of a distilled spirits plant is because the spirits that you offer for sampling/tasting is be taxpaid (meaning the federal excise taxes have been paid to TTB). Taxpaid spirits are not permitted on bonded or general premises of a distilled spirits plant. It does not matter whether you sell your spirits at retail in this separated tasting room. The regulations do not allow for the tasting or sampling on untaxpaid spirits thus the need for a completely separated area for the tastings/samplings. This would require 4 walls around the sampling/tasting area and it having its own separate entrance from the outside.

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