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Ruling 61-33

Rev. Ruling 61-33

Pewter Container with Soldered Seams

Advice has been requested whether Blended Scotch Whisky may be packaged in a pewter container with soldered seams.

Section 5301(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 provides that the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate is authorized, by the regulations prescribed by him, to regulate the kind, size, branding, marking, sale, resale, possession, used and reuse of containers (of a capacity of not more than five wine gallons) designed or intended for use for sale of distilled spirits (within the meaning of such term as it is used in section 5002(a)(6) for other than industrial use.

Section 175.17 of the Traffic in Containers of Distilled Spirits Regulations defines a liquor bottle as a container made of glass, or earthenware, or other suitable material approved by the Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax

Section 175.11 of the regulations provides that "containers" shall mean a vessel of a capacity of not less than one-half pint and not more than five wine gallons designed or intended for use for the sale of distilled spirits for other than industrial use.

Revenue Ruling 55-511, page 47, reflected the approval by the Director of pewter as a suitable material for the manufacture of liquor bottles.

The approval of such use of pewter was based on the packaging of a type of distilled spirits, non-acidic in character, in a molded pewter container without seams.

Laboratory tests have disclosed that Blended Scotch Whisky remaining for a short period of time in a pewter container with soldered seams had absorbed lead from the soldered seams in an amount sufficient to render it toxic in character.

Therefore, the Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division, has limited his approval of pewter as a material suitable for use in the manufacture of liquor bottles exclusively to cases where the pewter container is of a molded type without seams and it is to be used solely for the packaging of distilled spirits which are non-acidic in character.

Revenue Ruling 55-511 is hereby modified accordingly.

26 U.S.C. 5301; 26 CFR 175.17 (27 CFR 201.11)

Last updated: May 2, 2024