Beverage Alcohol Samples

Formula and Label Approval with Lab Sample Analysis / 5010 Tax Credit / Consumer Complaints /
Alcohol Beverage Sampling Program /
Beverage Alcohol Laboratory / Compliance Laboratory

Formula and Label Approval with Lab Sample Analysis

For additional information on formulas with lab sample analysis click here.

All wines for sale in the United States that contain 10 or more parts per million (ppm) sulfur dioxide must bear a label stating "Contains Sulfites" (27 CFR 4.32(e)). This labeling requirement allows those people who may have an allergic reaction to sulfur dioxide to be aware of its presence in wines.

The Food and Drug Administration has determined that products that contain less than 10 ppm of sulfites (such as sulfur dioxide) do not have to include this declaration on the label or they can label the product with the statement "contains less than 10 ppm sulfites." These wines require a sulfur dioxide waiver for such labeling.

For sulfite waivers, the winemaker must have proof of sample analysis from the Beverage Alcohol Laboratory for imported products or from the Compliance Laboratory for domestic products. You must submit a TTB laboratory report along with the application for label approval.

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5010 Tax Credit

Under 26 U.S.C. 5001 and 7652 a tax is imposed on all spirits produced in or imported into the United States at $13.50 per proof gallon. Wines containing more than 24 percent of alcohol by volume are taxed as spirits. A credit against this tax is allowed under 26 U.S.C. on each proof gallon of alcohol derived from eligible wine or eligible alcohol-containing flavors which do not exceed 2.5 percent of the finished product on a proof gallon basis.

Eligible wines are other than standard (OTS) wines that have not been subject to distillation at a distilled spirits plant and that contain no more than 0.392 g of carbon dioxide per 100 ml. Eligible flavors are those that have been approved by the Nonbeverage Products Laboratory. The producers or importers of distilled spirits are eligible to apply for this credit if the distilled spirits contain an eligible wine and/or eligible flavor.

How To Apply

A producer or an importer may apply for 5010 Tax Credit for a product by submitting the following to the National Laboratory Center, Beverage Alcohol Laboratory, 6000 Ammendale Road, Beltsville, Maryland 20705:

  • An official letter from the producer or importer disclosing information on the finished product (e.g., base distilled spirit, eligible wine and/or eligible flavors).
  • Calculation of effective tax rate for each finished product.
  • Samples of the finished products, base distilled spirit, eligible wine, and/or eligible flavors in volumes of 500 ml to 750 ml each.

After receiving all of the above items, the laboratory completes the use rates verification of the wines and flavors within 30 working days. The laboratory report is forwarded to the Regulations & Rulings Division (RRD) for further processing. RRD notifies the producer or importer of the final TTB decision.

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Consumer Complaints

Occasionally, consumers in the United States bring alcohol beverage complaints to the attention of TTB. These complaints generally involve the quality of the products, such as spoilage, unusual taste, low alcohol, and the presence of foreign objects. The Beverage Alcohol Laboratory, upon receiving these suspect samples, conducts scientific investigation and reports the results to the Consumer Complaint Coordinator at TTB Headquarters. In cases where complaints involve suspected product-tampering or other criminal activities, the samples are referred to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing and criminal investigation.

A consumer may contact TTB to report a complaint. A TTB investigator interviews the complainant, collects pertinent suspect samples and controls, and sends the material to the Beverage Alcohol Laboratory for analysis. Get more information about filing a complaint.

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Alcohol Beverage Sampling Program (ABSP)

Under ABSP, TTB monitors the regulatory compliance of the post-market alcohol beverage and nonbeverage products. Annually, TTB staff collects samples that are statistically selected from retail shops located throughout the United States, and sends them to the Beverage Alcohol Laboratory and Compliance Laboratory for analysis. The sample analysis usually takes about 30 days from the date the laboratory receives the samples.

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Questions?  If you have questions about alcohol samples, contact the Scientific Services Division.  If you're having technical issues with our online applications contact the TTB Help Desk or see the TTB Online Help Center.


Page last reviewed: December 1, 2014
Page last updated: February 8, 2018
Maintained by: Scientific Services Division