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Beer and Malt Beverages

Beer and Malt Beverages

Here are the TTB definitions of Beer and Malt Beverage

Beer, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC) and the TTB regulations, means beer, ale, porter, stout and other similar fermented beverages (including sake’ and similar products) containing one-half of one percent or more of alcohol by volume, brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from substitutes for malt. Only rice, grain of any kind, bran, glucose, sugar, and molasses are substitutes for malt.

Malt beverage, under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act) and the TTB regulations, means a beverage, which may be alcoholic, non-alcoholic, or alcohol-free, made by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction, or combination of both, in potable brewing water, of:

  • malted barley and hops (or their parts or products)

AND, with or without:

  • other malted cereals;
  • unmalted or prepared cereals;
  • other carbohydrates (or products prepared therefrom);
  • carbon dioxide; and
  • other wholesome products suitable for human food consumption.

NOTE: In order for a brewery product to fall within the definition of a “malt beverage” under the FAA Act, it must be a fermented beverage made from both malted barley and hops, or their parts, or their products. A fermented beverage that qualifies as a “beer” under the IRC but that is made without both malted barley and hops is not a malt beverage under the FAA Act.  For more information see TTB Ruling 2008-3.

Last updated: April 24, 2024
Maintained by: Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division