What is proof?
Proof is a method of measuring the alcohol content of spirits. You calculate the proof of a spirits product by multiplying the percent of alcohol by volume by two (2). For example, a spirits product that has a 40% alcohol content by volume is 80 proof [40 multiplied by 2 = 80].
How do I calculate proof?
Converting U.S. gallons into proof gallons for tax purposes:
1. Multiply U.S. gallons by the percent of alcohol by volume.
2. Multiply by 2.
3. Divide by 100.
1. 100 U.S. gallons x 40% alcohol by volume=4000
2. 4000 x 2=8000
3. 8000/100= 80 proof gallons
You may also find our TTB Proofing Video Series helpful.
Last reviewed/updated 01/07/2015
Under Federal rules administered by TTB, it depends on how you use the still. You may not produce alcohol with these stills unless you qualify as a distilled spirits plant. However, owning a small still and using it for other purposes is allowed. You should also check with your State and local authorities - their rules may differ. You should also review our Home Distilling page.
A still is defined as apparatus capable of being used to separate ethyl alcohol from a mixture that contains alcohol. Small stills (with a cubic distilling capacity of a gallon or less) that are used for laboratory purposes or for distilling water or other non-alcoholic materials are exempt from our rules. If you buy a small still and use it to distill water or extract essential oils by steam or water extraction methods, you are not subject to TTB requirements. If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture -distilling.
Last reviewed/updated 01/06/2015
Under regulations in part 29 of title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, TTB has the right to require manufacturers of stills to give us the name and address of each customer. If we choose to impose this requirement, we inform the manufacturer of the stills by letter. You should also review our Home Distilling page.
Last reviewed/updated 01/06/2015
The Internal Revenue Code provides three methods for doing this.
Last reviewed/updated 06/18/2012
Have you heard about the science fair project or school project where a student:
A. Under current law and regulations, we cannot allow you to conduct experiments involving distillation of alcohol at your home.
As an alternative, Federal law allows us to issue a permit for an alcohol fuel plant (AFP). Under this type of permit, experiments with alcohol fuels can be conducted at locations properly qualified with TTB.
Here's what you need to do to qualify:
These steps apply primarily to students who are in elementary through high school. Make sure your application is filed as soon as possible to allow enough time for us to process it. You cannot begin the experiment until we issue you a permit.
Application form 5110.74 and additional information are available from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, National Revenue Center, Spirits Unit A, 550 Main Street, Room 8002, Cincinnati, OH 45202-3263. You may also contact us by phone at (800) 398-2282 or (513) 684-7150, or via e-mail.
Last reviewed/updated 06/18/2012
You may not produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties. You should also review our Home Distilling page.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that also make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.
Spirits may be produced for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only without payment of tax, but you also must file an application, receive TTB's approval, and follow requirements, such as construction, use, records and reports.
Last reviewed/updated 01/06/2015
A description of specialized farming practices generally may appear on alcohol beverage labels as additional information provided it is truthful, accurate, specific, and does not conflict with, or in any manner qualify, mandatory labeling information. However, due to the constantly evolving nature of this field, TTB reserves the right to request clarification and documented verification of any graphics, seals, logos, definitions or language appearing on labels. For instance, any label specifically stating that the producer is certified by an agricultural organization must have documented proof.
Terms that refer to the environmental impact of the process and packaging rather than the product itself are usually acceptable. These words and phrases may not modify mandatory information on brand labels, but might appear as additional information after review on a case-by-case basis.
Last reviewed/updated 07/12/2012
Yes, Federal law and TTB regulations provide, among other things, that a proprietor of distilled spirits plant may transfer bulk spirits or denatured spirits in bond to the bonded premises of any distilled spirits plant. However, spirits or denatured spirits produced from petroleum, natural gas, or coal may not be transferred to alcohol fuel plants. See 26 U.S.C. 5212 and 27 CFR 19.402-19.407, which also set forth certain requirements related to such transfers.
A proprietor of a distilled spirits plant also may transfer bulk wine to the bonded premises of another distilled spirits plant. See 26 U.S.C. 5214(a)(5) and TTB regulations at 27 CFR 19.402-19.407, which also set forth certain requirements related to such transfers.
Yes, a proprietor of a distilled spirits plant may transfer bulk spirits to a bonded wine premises. See 26 U.S.C. 5214(a)(5) and TTB regulations at 27 CFR 19.402-19.407, which also set forth certain requirements related to such transfers.
A proprietor of a bonded wine premises may receive distilled spirits in bulk at their premises under the requirements of 27 CFR part 24.
No, the proprietor of a distilled spirits plant may not transfer bulk spirits to a brewery. Federal law and TTB regulations restrict the use of a brewery and receiving bulk spirits at the brewery is not listed among the authorized operations. See 26 U.S.C. 5411 and 27 CFR 25.23.
|See information regarding bulk transfers of wine or beer.|
No. In general, an experimental DSP permit does not cover activities such as refining recipes and perfecting production processes as a precursor to commercial production. The laws administered by TTB, specifically the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 at 26 U.S.C. 5312, provide for the establishment of experimental distilled spirits plants for the production and use of distilled spirits for experimental research. Specifically, section 5312(b) provides for the establishment and operation of experimental distilled spirits plants for specific and limited periods of time solely for experimentation in or development of:
TTB regulations at 27 CFR 19.32 and 19.33 implement this statutory provision.
Under the law and regulations, TTB does not have the authority to issue an experimental DSP permit to a person who intends to use standard sources of materials and standard processes. Refining recipes and perfecting production processes do not fall within the meaning of experimentation in, or development of, sources of materials or processes of production, if the sources of the materials and the production processes are consistent with those already established within the distilled spirits industry.
Last reviewed/updated 11/12/2014
Is an age statement required on a whisky label?
The TTB regulations at 27 CFR 5.40(a) require an age statement on the label of any whisky that has not been aged for at least four years. This requirement applies to any whisky produced by mixing or blending if the youngest whisky in the mixture or blend has been aged for less than four years. An age statement is optional for any whisky that is four years old or more, unless the label makes a representation as to age or maturity. See 27 CFR 5.40(e)(2) for rules applying to age, maturity, and similar representations.
What is the "age" of a whisky?
The TTB regulations at 27 CFR 5.11 define the term "age" to mean the period during which, after distillation and before bottling, distilled spirits have been stored in oak containers. For bourbon whisky, rye whisky, wheat whisky, malt whisky, or rye malt whisky, and for straight whisky other than straight corn whisky, the "age" is the period during which the whisky has been stored in charred new oak containers.
Do the format rules for mandatory age statements also apply to optional age statements?
The regulations at 27 CFR 5.40(a)(5) provide that optional age statements must appear in the same form as required statements. See 27 CFR 5.40 and Chapter 8 of the Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) for additional information about optional age statements.
What information must be included in an age statement?
The age of the whisky must be stated in hours, days, months, or years, as appropriate. The age may be understated, but the age may not be overstated. See 27 CFR 5.40(a)(4) for the requirements regarding disclosure of aging in reused barrels for certain products.
How should age be stated if the whisky consists of a mixture or blend of whiskies with different ages?
If the whisky contains no neutral spirits, the age must be stated either as the age of the youngest whisky, or as a statement that includes the age of each whisky in the mixture or blend, and the percentage of that whisky in the mixture or blend. If percentages are listed, they must be based on the percentage of the finished product, on a proof gallon basis, contributed by each listed whisky, and the percentages listed must add up to 100%. If the whisky contains neutral spirits, see 27 CFR 5.40(a)(2) for rules that apply to statements of age and percentage.
Can the age statement include minimum or maximum ages?
As noted above, age may be understated, but may not be overstated. A minimum age (such as "aged at least __ years") is acceptable, but a maximum age (such as "aged for less than ___ years") is not acceptable.
I am bottling a straight whisky that consists of one straight whisky that has been aged for 3 years and another straight whisky that has been aged for 2 years. The older whisky makes up 60% of the mixture, on a proof gallon basis, and the younger whisky makes up the remaining 40%. Can I simply label the product as having been "Aged for less than 4 years"?
No. The statement "aged for less than 4 years" does not satisfy the requirements of 27 CFR 5.40 for an age statement, and it creates a misleading impression as to the age of the product. You may choose to label the product with an age statement that reflects the age of the youngest whisky ("Aged 2 years") or you can set out the percentage of each whisky, with its age (60% straight whisky aged 3 years; 40% straight whisky aged 2 years").
What are examples of acceptable formats for age statements?
The following formats are acceptable:
_____ years old.
____ months old.
Aged _____ years.
Aged at least ____ years.
Aged a minimum of ____ months.
Over ____ years old.
Aged not less than ____ years.
___% whisky aged __ years; __% whisky aged ___ years.
What are examples of age statements that are not acceptable?
TTB will not approve labels with the following age statements, because they list a maximum age instead of a minimum age, and thus may mislead consumers as to the age of the product:
Aged less than ____ years.
Under ____ years old.
Aged not more than ____ years.
Last reviewed/updated 12/29/2014