Anatomy of a Distilled Spirits Label Tool

The Anatomy of a Distilled spirits Label tool is an interactive tool that can help you learn more about how to create a distilled spirits label.



Brand
Label


Other
Label


BRAND LABEL

Use the thumbnail images to navigate between the Brand Label and Other Label.

Move your mouse over the label and click on any highlighted element to reveal information about that part of the label, plus COLA requirements and helpful tips for creating your distilled spirits label.

BRAND NAME

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

Required to appear on the BRAND LABEL


Description

The brand name is the name under which a distilled spirits product or line of distilled spirits products are marketed.

See Brand Name for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • The brand name must appear on the brand label.
  • The brand name may not mislead the consumer about the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the product.
  • The class/type designation (e.g., "Rum", "Bourbon" “Spiced Rum, Rum with natural flavors”), standing alone, may not be used as the brand name.  However, if no other brand name appears on the label, the name of the bottler, packer, or importer will be treated as the brand name. 

CLASS, TYPE, OR OTHER DESIGNATION

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

Required to appear on the BRAND LABEL


Description

Distilled Spirits must be labeled with the class and/or type of distilled spirits (such as “Vodka” or “Chocolate Flavored Brandy,” in accordance with an established standard of identity.  Distilled spirits that do not fit into one of the standards of identity are referred to as "distilled spirits specialty" products and the fanciful name and statement of composition (e.g., “Spiced Rum, Rum with natural flavors added”) act as the designation on the label.

See Class and Type Designations and 27 CFR 5.35 for complete requirements, including descriptions of standards of identity. 

TIPS 

  • The class/type designation must appear separate and apart from additional information.
  • If a class/type designation appears more than one time on the label(s), ensure that the designation is consistent wherever it appears.
  • A truthful and adequate statement of composition, along with a fanciful name, is the designation for a distilled spirits specialty product.
  • For recognized cocktails, a statement of the classes/types of the distilled spirits is sufficient as the statement of composition (e.g., “Screwdriver Made With Vodka”) where the designation adequately indicates to the consumer the general character of the product. 
  • Products subject to formula approval will be issued a suggested statement of composition. The statement of composition used on the label must be the same as, or more specific than, the suggested statement of composition on the approved formula.  Check the distilled spirits formula tool if you are unsure whether your distilled spirits needs a formula approved by TTB.

OTHER LABEL

Use the thumbnail images to navigate between the Brand Label and Other Label

Move your mouse over the label and click on any highlighted element to reveal information about that part of the label, plus COLA requirements and helpful tips for creating your wine label.


GRAPHICS/PICTORIAL IMAGES

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

Images appearing on distilled spirits labels are also subject to TTB labeling regulations.  Most notably, images may not create a misleading impression. 

See 27 CFR 5.42 for more information.

TIPS 

  • Non-mandatory information, including graphics and images, may be deleted or repositioned without applying for a new COLA.  See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

FANCIFUL NAME

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Only required for Distilled Spirits Specialty (DSS) products that require a statement of composition.  See 27 CFR 5.35(a). 

Must appear on the brand label along with the statement of composition


Description

For distilled spirts specialtya fanciful name is a descriptive name or phrase used in addition to the brand name to further identify a product.

See Brand Name  and Class and Type Designations for complete requirements. 

TIPS 

  • The fanciful name may not mislead the consumer about the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the distilled spirits.
  • A class/type designation is required for all distilled spirits, even if an optional fanciful name alludes to the type of distilled spirits in the container (bottle).  In this example, the fanciful name "Spiced Rum," standing alone, does not satisfy the requirement for a class/type designation; thus, the brand label must also include a statement of composition (in this case, “Rum with natural flavors added”).  

HEALTH WARNING STATEMENT

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

By law, a specific health warning statement is required to appear on all alcohol beverages containing 0.5% or more alcohol by volume.  The statement must appear exactly as it appears in the TTB regulations.

See Health Warning Statement  for complete requirements. 

TIPS  

  • Ensure all words are spelled correctly.
  • Ensure the punctuation matches the punctuation in the regulations.The first two words of the Health Warning Statement (“GOVERNMENT WARNING”) must appear in capital letters and in bold type. The remainder of the warning statement may not appear in bold type.
  • The statement must be separate and apart from surrounding text.
  • Warnings required by other countries about the health effects of alcohol consumption (statements or pictorial references) may not appear on the label.

ALCOHOL CONTENT

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

The alcohol content is a numerical indication of the alcohol content of the distilled spirits stated in terms of percent alcohol by volume.

In addition, the label may also state the alcohol content in degrees of proof if this information appears in direct conjunction (i.e., with no intervening material) with the statement expressed in percent-alcohol-by-volume. If both forms of alcohol content are shown, the optional statement in degrees of proof shall be placed in parentheses, in brackets, or otherwise distinguished from the mandatory statement in percent-alcohol-by-volume to emphasize the fact that both expressions of alcohol content mean the same thing.

See Alcohol Content Statement for complete requirements, including special requirements for distilled spirits containing a significant amount of solid material.

TIPS

  • Ensure the format is acceptable, such as:
    • "Alcohol ___ % by volume"; or
    • " ___% Alc. By Vol."
  • "ABV" is not allowed as an abbreviation of "alcohol by volume" in the mandatory alcohol content statement.

NAME AND ADDRESS

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

The name and address (city and state) of the bottler, distiller, processor (rectifier), or importer must appear on the label.

See Name and Address for complete requirements.

Tips

  • The name (or trade name) and address (city and state) on the label must be identical to the name and address that appear on the bottler's or importers basic permit; and
  • You may not add words within the name and address statement as it is required to appear, except to use the additional, optional phrases authorized in the regulations.

ADDITIONAL (OPTIONAL) INFORMATION

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

Labels frequently contain additional (optional) information that describes the distilled spirits or provides information relevant to the distilled spirits.  In general, additional information must be truthful, accurate, and specific, and it may not be misleading. 

See 27 CFR 5.42 for more information.

Tips

  • Additional (optional) information may be deleted without applying for a new COLA.  Adding or changing additional (optional) information does require that a new COLA be obtained. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.

WEBSITE ADDRESS and OTHER DIGITAL CONTENT LINKS

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

Website addresses or other digital content links such as QR codes or Microsoft tags are commonly found on labels.  The pages that web addresses and other digital content link to are subject to TTB's advertising regulations.

See Alcohol Beverage Advertising for more information.

Tips

  • Digital content links can be added, deleted, or changed on product labels without applying for a new COLA. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.
  • Any information retrieved from the digital content links must be in compliance with all applicable advertising regulations.

UPC and BOTTLE RETURN INFORMATION

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

No

May appear on any label


Description

UPC barcodes and bottle return information.

Tips

  • They can be added, deleted, or changed on product labels without applying for a new COLA. See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.
  • If white space appears on COLA label, you may want to note in the "Notes to Specialist" field of the COLA application what will appear there (such as a UPC).

NET CONTENTS

Mandatory?

Placement Requirement?

Yes

May appear on any label


Description

The net contents statement indicates the volume of distilled spirits in the container (bottle) on which the label appears.

See Net Contents for complete requirements.

TIPS 

  • Ensure the format and abbreviations for net contents are acceptable (e.g., 750 mL, 1 L)
  • Ensure the net contents are an approved standard of fill. [Insert hyperlink to DS page]
  • Net contents can be blown into the bottle.
  • One COLA may be used for additional bottle sizes.  Net contents indicated on a label may be changed without applying for a new COLA See Allowable Revisions for complete requirements.
     

Yellow triangle icon with a black exclamation mark for an important note. NOTE

See Distilled Spirits labeling regulations at 27 CFR part 5.
TTB G 2021-9

 

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