Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act Penalty

The Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (ABLA) of 1988 requires that a health warning statement appear on the labels of all containers of alcoholic beverages manufactured, imported, or bottled for sale or distribution in the United States.  The Act also requires that warning statement to appear on containers of alcoholic beverages that are manufactured, imported, bottled, or labeled for sale, distribution, or shipment to members or units of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those stationed overseas.  The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations implementing ABLA are found in 27 CFR part 16.

The Act provides that any person who violates the provisions of the ABLA is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $10,000, with each day constituting a separate offense (see 27 U.S.C. 218).  However, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, requires agencies to make periodic cost-of-living adjustments to civil monetary penalties (other than those in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Tariff Act of 1930).  TTB publishes notices in the Federal Register to notify the public of the adjusted maximum penalty for violations of the ABLA (see 27 CFR 16.33).  The adjusted penalties are recorded in the table shown below:

Time when violation is assessed

Violation subject to a civil penalty of not more than:

After November 18, 1988 and before July 1, 2016


July 1, 2016, to January 9, 2017


January 10, 2017, to January 11, 2018


January 12, 2018, to April 11, 2019


April 12, 2019, to April 30, 2021


May 1, 2021 to February 17, 2022


February 18, 2022, to January 13, 2023


January 14, 2023, and after


Each day on which a violation occurs will constitute a separate offense.



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Questions? For more information about TTB’s regulations and public guidance, contact the Regulations and Rulings Division (RRD) at 202-453-2265 or online.

Page last reviewed: June 30, 2016
Page last updated: January 13, 2023
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division