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October 2, 2015


Greetings! We hope you had a clear and comfortable week! This week's top stories include an announcement about a new qualification being applied to certain COLAs, a press release on a criminal case in which TTB participated, a link to our Drawback Tutorial, and a list of the past week's top distilled spirits pages at TTB.gov/.


We recently made an administrative change to the certificate of label approval (COLA) application review process designed to reduce the number of applications that must be returned for correction.  We are no longer returning applications to fix discrepancies between the label and the information supplied by the submitter on the application for the net contents (item 12), the alcohol content (item 13), or the wine vintage date (item 15) as long as:

  • the information on the label is compliant with applicable regulations; and
  • the information supplied on the application would be authorized as an Allowable Revision* to that information.

When TTB approves a COLA under these circumstances, we will add a qualification to the certificate stating that we have approved the COLA in spite of the inconsistency.

For example, if the alcohol content statement on the label of an ale is "4% Alc/Vol" but the applicant has mistakenly entered 4.5% on the application, we will approve the COLA (presuming the statement is shown correctly on the label) because "4.5% Alc/Vol" is also an appropriate alcohol content statement for an ale and that change could be made as an allowable revision without getting a new COLA.

We will not approve an application, if, for example, a distilled spirits label has a net contents statement of "200 ml" but the applicant entered “300 ml” in the application, because 300 ml is not an authorized standard of fill for distilled spirits and this would not be an allowable revision to the label.

As always, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the information on the label is consistent with the net contents, alcohol content, or vintage date (as applicable) for the product in the container.

If you have questions about this policy or the qualification please contact the Advertising, Labeling and Formulation Division toll free at 866-927-ALFD (2533), or by email at Submit an Online Inquiry.

*Industry members may make certain changes to previously approved alcohol beverage labels without applying for a new COLA.  Authorized changes are outlined in section V of TTB F 5100.31.  See our Allowable Revisions web page for more information about changes that can be made to approved labels without obtaining a new COLA.


Dilip Patel, age 49, of Wilmington, Delaware pleaded guilty on September 30, 2015, to wire fraud and agreed to pay restitution of $673,992 to the state of New York - the amount of excise tax loss - and forfeit $11,000 seized from a bank account that was the liquor store’s operating account.

According to the September 30, 2015 press release from the District of Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, Patel faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis has scheduled sentencing for January 7, 2016.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the HSI Baltimore, IRS - Criminal Investigation and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for their work in the investigation.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office should be directed to AUSA Vickie E. Leduc or Marcia Murphy at 410-209-4885.


After having reviewed thousands of nonbeverage drawback formulas, many of which contained similar errors, TTB’s Nonbeverage Products Laboratory (NPL) chemists decided to construct a tutorial to both codify what the NPL is looking for in formulas and to assist industry members with questions when filling out TTB Form 5154.1. The Tutorial is topic-based with similar topics grouped under a general heading.

In addition to the topical listing, the Tutorial contains worksheets to determine whether a product is unfit for beverage purposes and ones to assist in performing the calculations required on the form.  There are sample formulas representing various types of manufacturing processes and explanations of the calculations for each of these types.

View the Drawback Tutorial now to help get your nonbeverage formulas approved quicker.


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