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Distilled Spirits Labeling: Brand Name

A brand name is the name under which distilled spirits products, or a line of distilled spirits products, are sold.  If the distilled spirits are not sold under a brand name, then the name of the bottler, distiller, or importer will be treated as the brand name.

The brand name may not create a misleading impression.

  In this example, the brand name is “ABC Distillery”.

Where should the brand name be placed on the product?

The brand name must appear in the same field of vision with alcohol content and class and type designation, which may appear on the front, back, or side of the container.

What are the formatting requirements for the brand name?

Type size:

  • Minimum 2 mm for containers larger than 200 mL;
  • Minimum 1 mm for containers of 200 mL or less.

The minimum type size applies to each numeral or letter in the statement, including both upper-case and lower-case letters.


  • Must be readily legible under ordinary conditions;
  • Must appear on a contrasting background; and
  • Must appear separate and apart from, or be substantially more conspicuous than, descriptive or explanatory information.

When is a brand name misleading?

A brand name is misleading if, whether standing alone or in combination with other printed or graphic material, it creates a misleading or erroneous impression or inference as to the age, origin, identity or other characteristics of the distilled spirit. No label may include a misleading brand name.

In some instances, qualifying the brand name with the word “brand” may be appropriate so that the brand name conveys no erroneous impression as to the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the product. TTB will make these determinations on a case-by-case basis.

What is the difference between a brand name and a distinctive or fanciful name?

As stated above, a brand name is the name under which a distilled spirits product or a line of distilled spirits products is sold. A brand name is required to appear on the brand label of every distilled spirits product.

A distinctive or fanciful name is a descriptive name or phrase chosen to further identify a product and may be used in addition to a brand name on a product label. (Some industry members may also refer to this as a “sell name.”)  A distinctive or fanciful name may be required for distilled spirit specialties and may appear on other products as additional information.  For additional information, see Class and/or Type Designations.

Distinctive or fanciful names, like other optional information on labels, may not create a false or misleading impression about the distilled spirit.

Note: If you choose to use an optional distinctive or fanciful name on your distilled spirits, it is not a substitute for a brand name, class or type designation, or (if required) a statement of composition on a distilled spirits product. 

In this example, the brand name is “ABC DISTILLERY.” The distinctive or fanciful name in this example is “SPICED RUM”

The fanciful name (in this case, (“SPICED RUM”), and the statement of composition (in this case, “RUM WITH SPICES ADDED”), serve as the mandatory class and type designation.




See Distilled Spirits Labeling: Brand Name regulations at 27 CFR 5.64 (unless otherwise noted).

TTB G 2021-3

 As of 12/27/2022: this document was updated for purposes of T.D. TTB-176, Modernization of the Labeling and Advertising Regulations for Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages.


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Last updated: April 16, 2024
Maintained by: Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division