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Industry Circular

Number: 87-1

Date: April 2, 1987

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

Washington, D.C. 20226


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Proprietors of Distilled Spirits Plants, Bonded Wineries, Brewers, Importers and others concerned:

Purpose. This circular announces the future publication of an ATF procedure which will be published in the next Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Quarterly Bulletin. The procedure will read substantially as follows:

Section 1. PURPOSE

This procedure provides guidelines for submission of samples of alcoholic beverages to the ATF National Laboratory Center for testing.


Frequently, samples are received by the ATF Laboratory without explanation or reason for submission. In addition, some samples are submitted without being accompanied by producer's statement of ingredients/process or other appropriate documentation necessary to permit laboratory analysis. These problems have contributed to delays in testing alcoholic beverages.

Section 3. PROCEDURE

The following steps should be followed by industry members when submitting samples of alcoholic beverages to the Bureau for testing:

a. Samples should be sent directly to:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms National Laboratory Center Beverage Alcohol Section 1401 Research Boulevard Rockville, MD 20850

The Bureau has frequently encountered instances in which samples were shipped air freight to an airport, but no arrangements were made for delivery of the samples from the airport to the ATF Lab. Industry members are reminded that the shipping costs and arrangements for delivery of samples to the ATF Lab are their responsibility.

Samples should not be shipped or submitted to Compliance Operations, Product Compliance Branch.

b. Each sample container (bottle, can, etc.) should be marked with a unique identifying number or designation.

c. Samples should be accompanied by information to indicate: (1) reason for submission, (2) name and address of industry member submitting the sample, and (3) name and telephone number of a responsible person who may be contacted if there are any questions or problems.

Each sample should be accompanied by a certified producer's statement of ingredients/process or other appropriate documentation necessary to permit laboratory analysis. The documentation should be clearly written, legible, and translated to English, if necessary.

A copy of the documentation should also be sent to Compliance Operations, Product Compliance Branch.

The source from which the alcohol is derived (e. g., neutral spirits grain, cane, grape) and the proof at which distilled should also be included for distilled spirits specialty products, gins and vodkas. When products contain flavors, the documentation should include names of chemical compounds and botanical substances, percentage by volume of each flavor, the commercial name and number under which each flavor is marketed, the name and address of the flavor manufacturer, and the drawback number (if available).

Samples received without appropriate documentation will be retained for 60 days after which time they will be destroyed.

The ATF Lab will acknowledge receipt of samples by mail and also notify the submittor of the assigned lab numbers and whether additional documentation is necessary.

d. The status of samples submitted for testing should be checked by contacting the Compliance Operations, Product Compliance Branch at (202) 566-7595, not earlier than 21 days after receipt. Please avoid contacting the ATF Laboratory to determine the status of sample testing.

Inquiries. Inquiries concerning this circular should refer to its number and be addressed to the Associate Director (Compliance Operations), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20226.

Stephen Higgins


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