TTB Publishes Industry Circular Explaining Changes to Criteria for Hard Cider Tax Rate

Posted 05/17/2017

The Internal Revenue Code criteria for the "hard cider" tax rate have changed for wines removed from wine premises or customs custody on or after January 1, 2017. The hard cider tax rate is lower than the tax rate for other wines. The modified criteria broaden the range of wines eligible for the hard cider tax rate as follows:

  • The allowable alcohol content increases from less than 7 percent to less than (not equal to) 8.5 percent alcohol by volume;
  • The allowable carbonation level increases from 0.392 to 0.64 grams of carbon dioxide per hundred milliliters of wine; and
  • The use of pears and pear juice concentrate is authorized in wine eligible for the hard cider tax rate.

Wine eligible for the hard cider tax rate cannot contain fruit products or fruit flavors other than apple and pear.

On Tuesday, May 16, TTB published TTB Industry Circular 2017-2, Amendments to the Criteria for the Hard Cider Tax Rate and Information on Other Requirements that Apply to Wine that is Eligible for the Hard Cider Tax Rate, which provides additional details and explanation for producers who wish to take advantage of the broader criteria for the hard cider tax rate. The industry circular further explains the implications for industry members of the changes to the criteria. It also provides related information on labeling, the application of the small wine producers' tax credit, formula requirements, and carbonation testing and recordkeeping requirements.

If you have any questions about the hard cider tax rate, please contact


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Page last reviewed/updated: 10/28/2013