[Federal Register: September 27, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 186)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 51896-51897]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

27 CFR Parts 4 and 24

[T.D. ATF-418 Re: T.D. ATF--398, Notice No. 859 and Notice No. 869]
RIN 1512-AB71

Hard Cider; Postponement of Labeling Compliance Date (97-2523)

AGENCY: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Department of 
the Treasury.

ACTION: Temporary rule (Treasury decision).


SUMMARY: This temporary rule postpones the mandatory date for the 
labeling of hard cider. In the Proposed Rules section of this Federal 
Register, ATF is also issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking inviting 
comments on proposed changes to the label requirements for hard cider 
for a 60-day period following the publication of the notice.

DATES: Effective date: This document is effective retroactive to 
February 17, 1999.
    Compliance date: Compliance with the hard cider labeling 
requirements in 27 CFR 4.21 and 24.257 is not mandatory until September 
27, 2000.

Division, 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20226; (202) 
927-8230; or mdruhf@atf.gov.



    On August 21, 1998, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms 
(ATF) issued a temporary rule to implement various sections of the 
Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Public Law 105-34 (``the Act''). Section 
908 of the Act amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC) to 
create a new excise tax category for hard cider. The temporary rule, 
T.D. ATF-398 (63 FR 44779) included rules for labeling hard cider. On 
the same

[[Page 51897]]

day, ATF issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, Notice No. 859 (63 FR 
44819), inviting comments on this temporary rule for a 60 day period. 
In response to requests from the industry, ATF reopened the comment 
period for an additional 30 days on November 6, 1998, by Notice No. 869 
(63 FR 59921).
    ATF received 45 comments in response to these notices. Two comments 
addressed the issue of semi-generic wine designations (also covered in 
the temporary rule and notices), and all the rest concerned the hard 
cider rules. All the comments will be discussed in a future final rule, 
but ATF has identified one area, labeling of hard cider, where comments 
indicate the temporary rule as originally issued imposes an unintended 
and unnecessary burden. By this document, we are postponing the 
compliance date for the hard cider labeling rules (originally February 
17, 1999), so that we can develop alternative labeling rules. The 
temporary rule and the specific comments are discussed in detail in the 
notice of proposed rulemaking published in this issue of the Federal 

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.) relating to a final regulatory flexibility analysis do not apply 
to this rule because the agency was not required to publish a general 
notice of proposed rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law. 
Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 7805(f), this temporary rule will be submitted to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for 
comment on its impact on small business.

Executive Order 12866

    It has been determined that this rule is not a significant 
regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866. Therefore, a 
regulatory assessment is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3507) and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, do not apply 
to this final rule because no new collection of information is 
contained in this Treasury decision.

Administrative Procedure Act

    This document merely defers a compliance date for labeling rules 
for hard cider while ATF considers alternative labeling requirements. 
In view of the immediate need to inform the industry of this action, it 
is found to be impracticable to issue this Treasury decision with 
notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), or subject to the 
effective date limitation in section 553(d).
    Drafting Information: The principal author of this document is 
Marjorie Ruhf, of the Regulations Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco 
and Firearms.

List of Subjects

27 CFR Part 4

    Advertising, Consumer protection, Customs duties and inspection, 
Imports, Labeling, Packaging and containers, Wine.

27 CFR Part 24

    Administrative practice and procedure, Authority delegations, 
Claims, Electronic fund transfers, Excise taxes, Exports, Food 
additives, Fruit juices, Labeling, Liquors, Packaging and containers, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Research, Scientific 
equipment, Spices and flavoring, Surety bonds, Taxpaid wine bottling 
house, Transportation, Vinegar, Warehouses, Wine.
    Therefore, pursuant to the authority set forth in 26 U.S.C. 5368 
and 27 U.S.C. 205(e), ATF is postponing the compliance date with 
respect to the use of the term ``hard cider'' set forth in 27 CFR 
4.21(e)(5) and 24.257(a)(3)(iii) and (iv) to September 27, 2000.

    Dated: June 16, 1999.
John W. Magaw,
    Dated: August 13, 1999.
John P. Simpson,
Assistant Secretary, (Regulatory, Tariff and Trade Enforcement).
[FR Doc. 99-24833 Filed 9-24-99; 8:45 am]