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7 hard Seltzer questions answered

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  • 7 hard Seltzer questions answered

    Many brewers are getting into making hard seltzer and have questions. I hope this clears some of that up. Note that these answers only relate to federal requirements and state's will have different requirements.
    1. What permit is required to produce hard seltzer?
      • TTB permits a holder of a brewer's notice to produce hard seltzer, whether that product's base is a sugar brew or a malt brew.
      • TTB does NOT permit a brewer's notice holder to produce a wine or spirits based product.
    2. Do I need a formula approval for my hard seltzer product?
      • Probably. If your product is not a "malt beverage" (i.e., contains malted barley and hops), you will need a formula. You will also need a formula approval if your product contains any non-traditional ingredient - https://www.ttb.gov/images/pdfs/ruli...tachment-1.pdf, or if the product contains flavors, coloring,
    3. Do I need a label approval for my hard seltzer product?
      • Yes, if your product is a malt beverage product (i.e., malt beverage + hops). Caveat. Generally, beers/hard seltzers that are only sold in the state of production may not require a label approval, unless your state requires TTB label approval.
      • No, if your product is not a malt beverage product. FDA (https://www.fda.gov/media/90473/download) guidelines for labels apply for non-malt beverage beers. FDA does not have a pre-approval process like TTB does for labels. They do have different requirements though, most notably a requirement that the product have nutrition paneling.
    4. What trademark category should I register my hard seltzer brand in?
      • The most obvious answer is to include "Hard Seltzer" in class 33.
      • An argument could be made that "Hard Seltzer" is also, technically "beer" according to some definitions and you could potentially also include beer in class 32.
    5. How much flavor extract can I use in my product?
      • If your product contains not more than 6% alcohol by volume, 49% of the alcohol content can come from flavors.
      • If your product contains 6% alcohol by volume or more, not more than 1.5% of the volume of the product may consist of alcohol derived from flavors.
    6. What are the benefits of producing "sugar-based" brews over malt based brews or other alcohol bases
      • Primarily, the benefit over malt is to be able to advertise the product as truly "gluten-free." Any product that contains malt cannot make that claim.
      • The benefit over using a wine or spirits base is the major tax benefit of using malt/sugar brew.
    7. Can I buy bulk sugar brew from another vender for use in my product?
      • Generally, yes. TTB amended its rules to permit the transfer of beer between breweries in bond. https://www.ttb.gov/images/pdfs/2018-1-print.html. This is particularly useful for copackers that don't want to bother with fermenting and just want to receive, blend, and package products like hard seltzer.

    I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.

    Dan Christopherson
    Christopherson Brew Law
    dan@brew.law
    www.brew.law
    720-515-8773
    Last edited by Brew Law; 02-18-2021, 06:20 PM.
    Dan Christopherson
    Christopherson Brew Law
    Littleton, CO 80128
    (720) 515-8773
    dan@brew.law
    brew.law
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