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Anyone's TTB permit not granted ?


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  I wanted to know if there have been cases where the TTB permit did not get granted.

We are considering signing a lease without an out clause if TTB permit is not granted. The real estate market is the bay area has been really tight, and for any reasonable place, there are lots of prospective tenants who don't have such contingencies. We have lost out on a couple of spaces because we wanted an out clause and the landlord had other applicants without any contingencies.

We have clean records, no tax issues, and can show funds for the distillery (possible reasons why TTB might not grant a permit). Just trying to figure out what the risk or chances of an application being denied might be.



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There are no guarantees, but unless you lack financing, for which TTB has a low threshold, i.e., no minimum amount; have dodged taxes in the past; have an unsavory business history across which they stumble; can't get a bond because no one trusts you; or have been convicted of a felony in the last five years or a misdemeanor relating to alcohol under federal law in the last three (I'd venture no one in the country has such a conviction), they will approve.  

You know your reputation and history.   A denial would be an outlier.  In 33 years with ATF, I had two occasions when we denied and a couple more where we convinced them to withdraw and save everyone the trouble of going through the process, and I was someone who drew the hard cases.  What sort of things am I talking about?  Russian organized crime involvement; history of significant past TTB violations;  a likely money-washing ventrue; principals with a demonstrable history of cons.  Basically, those on the fringe.  

The trick is getting TTB to approve before you go broke paying the rent.  The average time to approval is now 206 days.  That's the average.   They don't disclose range and mode and median.  And its been spiraling down.

As to approval, I would be more concerned with whether the state will approve of the principals or that local jurisdictions will approve the premises for use as a distillery than I would be that TTB will approve it.  Does it have four walls, a roof and a floor?  Are you satisfied that no one can easily steal your product or your still?  If so, you can get TTB approval of the premises.  Safety is not a federal issue.  It is a local issue.  So too is the location in relation to schools, churches, and areas where they have put on restrictions on alcohol use.

Hope this helps.


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   Thanks for the detailed and very informative reply. We have been talking to the local authorities, and have found some cities friendlier than the rest. So we know which cities we could get an approval (non CUP) in 1-2 months if the sprinkler density and zoning and adjacent occupancy (and the phase of the moon) all align. While 1-2 months might work with the landlords, the 6-7 months was a real sticking point for most landlords.

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