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Brewery Alternating Proprietorships



An "alternating proprietorship" is a term used to describe an arrangement in which two or more people take turns using the physical premises of a brewery.

Generally, the proprietor of an existing brewery, the "host brewery," agrees to rent space and equipment to a new "tenant brewer." Alternating brewery proprietorships allow existing breweries to use excess capacity and give new entrants to the beer business an opportunity to begin on a small scale, without investing in premises and equipment.

The tenant qualifies as a brewer by filing the appropriate documents with TTB. The tenant brewer:

  • Produces beer
  • Keeps appropriate brewery records
  • Labels the beer with its own name and address
  • Obtains the necessary COLAs
  • Pays tax at the appropriate rate upon removal of its beer from the brewery

The tenant brewer has title to the beer at all stages of the brewing process.


On August 12, 2005, TTB issued Industry Circular 2005-2 to provide guidance to brewers on how to qualify for and operate as an alternating proprietorship. This industry circular:

  • Outlines what documents must be filed to qualify as a brewery alternating proprietor by both parties
  • Provides guidelines for the operation of brewery alternating proprietorships by both the host and tenant breweries
  • Describes the information used by TTB officials to make determinations regarding approval of alternating proprietorship arrangements

If you were approved to operate as an alternating proprietor prior to August 12, 2005, please read more on the Alternate Proprietors at Brewery Premises Deadline


Both the tenant and host brewer must submit a series of forms and documentation to the National Revenue Center in order to qualify for an alternating brewery arrangement. Please see Industry Circular 2005-2 for a complete list of application requirements.

For samples of the alternate method applications often submitted for brewery alternating proprietorships, click here.

Last updated: May 21, 2024