Chapter 22

Government Beer Regulations

Federal Beer Regulations

Until recently, nearly all federal regulations involving alcohol were issued by the Treasury Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), established by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act of 1935 and the 1968 Gun Control Act. However, in 2002, under the Homeland Security Act, the Bureau was divided. The part remaining in the Department of the Treasury was renamed the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). A new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was formed in the Department of Justice. The TTB is responsible for administering and regulating the operations of distilleries, wineries, and breweries, as well as importers and wholesalers in the industry. Some of the specific functions TTB is responsible for as related to beer brewing include:

Brewery Application Approval

To qualify as a brewer you must complete and submit to TTB the appropriate forms along with any other required documentation. TTB will usually complete our screening and processing within sixty days of receipt of a completed Brewers Notice packet.

Excise Tax Collection

U.S. Government involvement in the beer industry also includes taxation. The current federal excise tax on beer, in effect since January 1, 1991, is $18 per barrel for 31 gallons. However, a reduced tax rate applies, at a rate of $7 per barrel, to the first 60,000 barrels of beer removed for consumption or sale by brewing companies that do not produce more than 2,000,000 barrels of beer per calendar year. The federal excise tax regulations also include other rules, including for removals without tax payment and inter-brewery purchases.

Labeling and Advertising Approval

The TTB implements and enforces a broad range of statutory and compliance provisions to ensure that alcohol products are created, labeled, and advertised in accordance with Federal laws and regulations. Brewers must follow the labeling and advertising requirements found at 27 CFR Part 7, Labeling and Advertising of Malt Beverages and 27 CFR Part 16, Alcoholic Beverage Health Warning Statement.

Homebrewing

Any adult may produce beer, without payment of tax, for personal or family use and not for sale. An adult is any individual who is 18 years of age or older. If the locality in which the household is located requires a greater minimum age for the sale of beer to individuals, the adult shall be that age before commencing the production of beer. This exemption does not authorize the production of beer for use contrary to state or local law.

Click on the following topics for more information on government beer regulations.