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October 16, 2020


Greetings! This week’s top news includes our recent ruling updating our policy on gluten content statements, a reminder to check out our online tool for determining if you need to get formula approval for your alcohol beverage, and an announcement on an accepted settlement agreement for alleged violations of the tax code.


As we announced earlier this week in a special edition of the TTB Newsletter, in response to changes to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, we are updating our policy on gluten content statements on labels and in advertisements for wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages regulated under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act).

The main points of TTB Ruling 2020-2 are:

  • We are continuing to authorize the term “gluten-free” if the product would be entitled to make a “gluten-free” labeling claim under the definition in FDA regulations.
  • In light of changes to FDA’s regulations, we are revising our policy to allow the term “gluten-free” for distilled spirits distilled from gluten-containing grains as long as good manufacturing practices are followed that prevent the introduction of any gluten-containing material into the final product.
  • We are continuing to allow labels and advertisements for products fermented from gluten-containing grains to bear a claim that the product was processed (or treated or crafted) to remove gluten, if the claim includes an appropriate qualifying statement and necessary documentation is available to substantiate the claim.

This ruling does not require any changes to approved labels. Instead, it allows greater flexibility for industry members who wish to make voluntary “gluten-free” claims on labels or in advertisements of distilled spirits distilled from gluten-containing grains, subject to the conditions of this ruling.

For additional details, see TTB Ruling 2020-2.


For certain alcohol beverages, TTB must evaluate the ingredients and production process before the product can be made or imported, and before you can submit your labels to TTB (if required). In some cases we also analyze a sample of the product in our laboratory while reviewing the formula.

How can you easily determine if your product requires formula approval or laboratory sample analysis? We’ve got a handy tool on that helps you answer the question: Which Alcohol Beverages Require Formula Approval?  It walks you through a series of questions about the product and then provides a clear answer based on how you respond. The tool also provides product definitions and some regulatory tips.

If you prefer to cut to the chase, you can browse a list of distilled spirit, beer/malt beverage, and wine products that require formula approval.


On September 11, TTB accepted a $25,000 Offer in Compromise (OIC) from The Smoke Zone, LLC for violations stemming from allegedly manufacturing tobacco products without the requisite TTB permit.  To see this and other OICs, please visit our Administrative Actions page.


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