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Alcohol Beverage Labeling and Advertising Regulations Final Rule


Posted 04/01/2020 by the Regulations and Rulings Division

On April 2, 2020, we will publish a final rule to address certain proposals included in Notice 176, Modernization of the Labeling and Advertising Regulations for Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages. The final rule is effective 30 days from date of publication in the Federal Register.

We recognize that industry members have an interest in regulatory certainty, particularly with regard to policies that may affect the labeling of their products.  In this document, we are finalizing certain liberalizing and clarifying changes that were proposed and also identifying certain other proposals that will not be adopted.

While this final rule does not address all of the proposals made in Notice 176, it does provide resolution on a number of issues that:

  • do not require any current labels or advertisements to be changed
  • were generally widely supported by commenters and stakeholders
  • can be implemented relatively quickly, and
  • will either give more flexibility to industry members or help industry members understand existing requirements

Specifically the rule finalizes, among other things, the following liberalizing changes that were proposed in Notice No. 176:

  • an expanded alcohol content tolerance for distilled spirits
  • brand label placement flexibility for distilled spirits
  • allowing age statements for most types of distilled spirits
  • allowing vintage dates for wine imported in bulk, and
  • removing prohibition on strength claims for malt beverages

In addition, this document identifies certain proposals that will not be adopted, including:

  • the proposal to define an “oak barrel” for purposes of aging distilled spirits
  • the proposal to require that statements of composition for distilled spirits specialty products list components in intermediate products
  • the proposal to require that distilled spirits statements of composition list distilled spirits and wines in order of predominance, and
  • the proposal to adopt new policies on the use of cross-commodity terms 

We continue to consider the remaining issues raised by comments we received that are not addressed in this document, and plan to address those issues in subsequent rulemaking documents.


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Last updated: April 5, 2024
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