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August 24, 2018


Greetings! This week’s top news includes a permit suspension resulting from a TTB trade practice investigation, we’ve reduced the amount of information that must be supplied on the personnel questionnaire, Lis Kann has been selected for the newly-created position of Assistant Administrator External Affairs, and we’ve implemented a change to Permits Online that affects how trade name amendments are processed.


On August 21, 2018, Modus Operandi Cellars, LLC, a bonded winery in St. Helena, California, served a one day suspension of its basic permit. This latest enforcement action clearly demonstrates TTB’s determination to put an end to anti-competitive practices that hurt law-abiding businesses and prevent consumers from enjoying a wide selection of products.

Specifically, over the course of almost two years, Modus Operandi Cellars, LLC, engaged in consignment sales of wine to wholesalers who were not obligated to pay for the wine until after it had been sold to retailers. Consignment sales arrangements, like other unlawful trade practices, are used to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding industry members and ultimately limit consumer choice.

The Modus Operandi Cellars, LLC, investigation was part of the joint operation that TTB conducted with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in March 2018.

TTB remains committed to actively enforcing the trade practice provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. TTB will continue to assess ways that enforcement actions can encourage voluntary compliance and discourage noncompliant industry members from treating those enforcement actions as a simple cost of doing business.

Please visit www.ttb.gov for additional information on prohibited trade practices.


As part of our continuing effort to reduce regulatory burdens on industry members, we incorporated in the recent Permits Online system update a number of revisions to the Personnel Questionnaire. The Personnel Questionnaire is how TTB gathers background information about owners, officers, and others associated with TTB-regulated businesses. The revisions removed information that we deemed no longer necessary for submission with applications, including such things as employment and residence history of applicants (including officers, directors, and principal stockholders of a corporation). The changes made in Permits Online are also reflected on the paper Personnel Questionnaire form.

We continue work on other changes to streamline or reduce regulatory requirements, including plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking particularly focused on regulatory requirements for application or qualification of distilled spirits plants, wineries, breweries, and manufacturers of tobacco products or processed tobacco. These changes are expected to also include additional revisions to the Personnel Questionnaire.

Additional information: Permits Online: Personnel Questionnaires


We are pleased to announce the addition of a new directorate to the Bureau and the selection of Elisabeth Kann for the executive leadership position.

The operating environment today is more complex than ever. The new Office of External Affairs/Chief of Staff will ensure proactive coordination of Bureau-wide priorities, policies, and internal and external communications and will support the strategic management of the Bureau through strategic planning and performance management, including the effective use of data and analytic tools to facilitate our overall efficiency and effectiveness. These functions will be carried out through the Offices of Communications, Industry and State Outreach, Congressional and Public Affairs, Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation, and Analytics.

We expect this new directorate to provide outstanding support and insights across our organization, providing our management team with key updates on internal and external affairs, ensuring timely information and data to make strategic and operational decisions, improving our outreach to industry and other external stakeholders, and increasing our capacity to manage risks that affect our programs and objectives.

Ms. Kann brings extensive experience to the position of Assistant Administrator, External Affairs/Chief of Staff. She joined TTB in 2010 as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Regulations and Rulings Division, where she worked through 2012. She then served as Special Assistant, Office of the Administrator, before being appointed as Chief of Staff 5 years ago.


(This information has been updated. Please see Update On Permits Online and Trade Name Amendments in the TTB Newsletter for August 28, 2018 - Special Edition.)

TTB recognizes the time-sensitive nature of adding trade names, and our new Permits Online was designed to speed trade name amendments with automatic approvals. However, if an industry member had any entity-level amendments pending, they were not allowed to file additional entity amendments, which included trade name amendments. This week we implemented an update to Permits Online that allows industry members to submit trade name amendments for auto-approval regardless of whether any other entity amendments are pending.

Read more about Amended Applications for Trade Names.



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