The following is not an inclusive list of all TTB definitions applicable to SDS or CDA.  In case of any conflict between any definition below and a definition within a TTB statute or regulation, the terms of the statutory or regulatory text will prevail.


Alcohol: Spirits known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or spirits of wine. This term does not include spirits such as rum.

Article: Any substance or preparation made with denatured spirits, including specially denatured spirits. This term includes substances or preparations that contained specially denatured spirits and were further reprocessed by adding additional materials.

CFR: The Code of Federal Regulations.

Completely Denatured Alcohol (CDA): Alcohol denatured pursuant to completely denatured alcohol formulas prescribed in subpart C of 27 CFR part 21 and authorized on the TTB website at A permit is not needed to purchase completely denatured alcohol.

Dealer: This term includes a person who purchases and stores SDS for resale to users of SDS or to other dealers. A dealer may package SDS in appropriate size containers for resale. This term does not include a manufacturer or processor, and does not include a person who only buys and sells SDS that the person never physically receives or intends to receive.

Denaturant: Any one of the materials authorized under 27 CFR part 21 and on the TTB website at for addition to alcohol for addition to alcohol or rum in the production of specially denatured spirits.

Denaturer: The proprietor of a distilled spirits plant (DSP) who denatures alcohol or rum under 27 CFR part 19.

Distilled Spirits: This term includes alcohol and rum.

Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP): An establishment which is qualified under 27 CFR part 19 to conduct distilled spirits operations, including processing specially denatured spirits or manufacturing articles (also referred to as a denaturer or processor).

Essential Oil: Any of the volatile odoriferous natural oils found in plants, which impart to such plants odor, and often other characteristic properties; also, imitations of such natural oils, as well as aromatic substances, and synthetic oils, which possess the denaturing characteristics of such natural oils.

Formula: An instruction for manufacturing a product.  It is similar to a recipe that a cook follows. It can refer to a denatured alcohol formula or an article formula.

Formulation: A physical product manufactured in accordance with a formula. It is similar to a cooked meal that has been prepared using a recipe. It can refer to SDS, CDA, or an article.

General-use Formulas: Formulas for approved articles made in accordance with 27 CFR 20.111 through 20.124. These articles do not require formula approval on TTB Form 5150.19 and the customer does not need a permit to purchase an article made in accordance with a general-use formula. However, the manufacturer needs a permit to manufacture an article made in accordance with a general-use formula.

Manufacturer or User: A person who holds a permit, issued under 27 CFR part 20 to withdraw and use SDS, or to recover CDA or SDS, or articles manufactured with SDS, or a proprietor of a DSP qualified under 27 CFR part 19 as a processor who manufactures articles.

Permit: The document issued under 26 U.S.C. 5271(a), authorizing a person to withdraw and deal in or use SDS or to recover SDS, or articles under specified conditions.

Person: An individual, trust, estate, partnership, association, company, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or other entity recognized by law as a person.

Processor: Except as otherwise provided in 26 U.S.C. 5002(a)(6), any person qualified under 27 CFR part 19 who manufactures, mixes, bottles, or otherwise processes distilled spirits or specially denatured spirits or who manufactures any articles.

Proof: The ethyl alcohol content of a liquid at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, stated as twice the percent of ethyl alcohol by volume.

Recovery: This term includes the process of salvaging SDS or CDA after use without all of their original denaturants.  The term also includes the process of salvaging articles without all of their original ingredients or denaturants under the circumstances outlined in 27 CFR 20.211.

Rum: Any spirits produced from sugar cane products and distilled at less than 190 proof in such manner that the spirits possess the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to rum.

Specially Denatured Alcohol (SDA): Alcohol which has been treated with denaturants to make it unfit for beverage use pursuant to the specially denatured alcohol formulas authorized under subpart D of 27 CFR part 21. SDA is a type of specially denatured spirits (SDS).

Specially Denatured Rum (SDR): Rum denatured to make it unfit for beverage use pursuant to the one specially denatured rum formula authorized under subpart D of 27 CFR part 21.

Specially Denatured Spirits (SDS): Alcohol or rum which has been treated with denaturants to make it unfit for beverage use. SDS includes Specially Denatured Alcohol (SDA) and Specially Denatured Rum (SDR). An industrial alcohol user permit is needed to procure, use, recover and/or deal in SDS.

Unfit for beverage use, or unfit for beverage purposes: Unsuitable for consumption as an alcoholic beverage by a normal person, or unsusceptible of being made suitable for such consumption merely by dilution with water to an alcoholic strength of 15 percent by volume. The determination is based solely on the composition of the product and without regard to extraneous factors such as price, labeling, or advertising.


Page last reviewed/updated: 12/12/2018