How to Apply for Formula Approval with Lab Analysis: Paper Alternative

The best way to apply for formula approval with laboratory sample analysis is by using Formulas Online. Although TTB strongly encourages you to use the online option, you may instead ship the paperwork and a 750 mL sample of the product (or equivalent volume) directly to our laboratory.

Domestic alcohol beverage producers (wineries, distillers, brewers) and U.S. importers should prepare and submit TTB Form 5100.51, Formula and Process for Domestic and Imported Alcohol Beverages, containing all the required information about the product. You may also need to send supporting documentation.

Supporting Documentation

For all imported products, the U.S. importer must also send a document obtained from the foreign manufacturer that includes the following information:

  • Product Name: What the product is called.
  • Detailed Quantitative List of Ingredients: Lists the kind and quantity of each and every material or ingredient to be used in the formulation of a batch of the product. The information needs to be specific-- TTB does not accept generic descriptions for ingredients such as "herbs." The list of ingredients must, among other things, include all sources of alcohol, herbs added, coloring materials, natural and artificial flavoring materials, natural and artificial sweeteners, etc.
  • Total Yield: States the quantity of product made per batch. It may be the amount of an actual batch, such as "100 gallons," or a hypothetical number that accurately represents the quantity of ingredients per yield.  
  • Method of Manufacture: A detailed step-by-step description of how the product is made.
  • Proof at Distillation (for distilled spirits products). Proof at distillation represents the alcoholic strength of the spirit after the distillation process and prior to any addition of water. It is typically the highest alcohol content achieved before adjusting to the level needed for bottling.
  • Agricultural (Botanical) Source of Alcohol: State the ingredients from which the alcohol was fermented (for example: rye, potato, coconut, or beet sugar). "Ethanol" or "alcohol" should not be listed as the source material.
  • Final Alcohol Content: The percentage of alcohol by volume of the finished product. This may be stated as a range, as long as the range does not cross maximum or minimum requirements for the tax rate or class or type of product.

All of the information on this document must be in English and must appear on the producer's company letterhead stationery. If you are unable to provide English copies, you must submit a certified English translation.

For imported and domestic products, depending on the ingredients used to manufacture the alcohol beverage, you may be required to send the following supporting documents with your sample:

See also How to Send Alcohol Beverage Samples to the TTB Laboratory.

Alcohol Beverages that Require Formula Approval with Laboratory Sample Analysis

The following alcohol beverages require formula approval with laboratory sample analysis:

All Commodities



Any distilled spirit, wine or beer/malt beverage made with any ingredient that typically contains thujone (e.g., wormwood, tansy, yarrow)

Any distilled spirit, wine or beer/malt beverage made with hemp or a hemp component


Distilled Spirits



Blended applejack


Brandy (following types only)
Dried fruit brandy (e.g., raisin wine)
Fruit (other than grape) brandy
Lees brandy
Marc brandy
Neutral brandy
Pomace brandy
Residue brandy
Substandard brandy


Flavored (Class 9) products
Flavored brandy
Flavored gin
Flavored rum
Flavored vodka
Flavored whisky


Imitation distilled spirits


Powdered distilled spirits


Whisky (the following types only)
Blended corn whisky
Blended malt whisky
Blended rye whisky
Blended rye malt whisky
Blended wheat whisky
Blended whisky
Spirit whisky





Aperitif wine


Asian plum wine


Imitation wine


Rice wine/saké


Vermouth (except Italian vermouth)


Beer/Malt Beverages



Alcohol-free malt beverages

*Formula requirements for imported products generally apply only if the product is classified as a malt beverage, wine or distilled spirit under the FAA Act and requires a COLA.

Please note that TTB requires laboratory analysis without formula approval for certain other products that are not listed in this chart, and TTB may request samples of any alcohol beverage on a case-by-case basis.

Related Information

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Questions? For more information about alcohol beverage formulas, contact us at 202-453-2250 or toll free at 866-927-ALFD (2533), or send us a message using our Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) Contact Form.


Page last reviewed: September 29, 2017
Page last updated: August 28, 2018
Maintained by: Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division, Executive Liaison

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