By Michael Kaiser
The TTB has issued updated guidelines for the approval of “personalized labels”. In the past the TTB had allowed “templates” to be submitted for personalized labels. Meaning, the required information for the wine would be on the label, but the artwork could change. This allowed a winery to submit one label for many events, rather than having to submit a separate label for weddings, birthday, etc. A few years ago, the TTB started requiring new COLA submittals for any possible change in artwork. That meant that a winery would need to submit COLAs for any specific event they might do. This lead to increased work for wineries as well as the TTB.
Due to the dramatically increased turnaround times for COLA approvals, the TTB has now gone back allowing for a “template” for personalized labels. The standard is as follows:
In addition, the application must contain in item 19 of the paper application, or in the special wording section found in Part II/Step 2 in COLAs Online, a description of the specific personalized information that may change. For example, the application may state: “The graphics, salutations, dates, and artwork presented on this label may be changed to personalize this label.” For bottles etched with personalized information, the application must also indicate in item 19 of the paper application or in the special wording section found in Part II/Step 2 in COLAs Online that personalized information will be etched on the bottle. The label submitted with the COLA may contain a “blank” area where customized artwork or information will appear when the actual labels are printed.
Additionally all personalized labels will be approved with this qualification:
The approval of this COLA covers this label and any additions, deletions or changes in graphics, salutations, congratulatory dates and names, and artwork to personalize the label as indicated on the application. This approval to change the personalizing information does not permit the addition of any information that discusses either the alcohol beverage or characteristics of the alcohol beverage or that is inconsistent with or in violation of the provisions of 27 CFR parts 4, 5, 7or 16, as applicable, or any other applicable provision of law or regulations.
This is a step in the right direction for speeding up COLA turnaround times and WineAmerica suggested to TTB on numerous occasions to go back to template approvals for personalized labels. We applaud TTB for taking this step.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us and if you wish to read the entire release from TTB it can be found here:
By Michael Kaiser
The TTB doesn’t merely collect your taxes and approved your labels, they also regulate advertising for alcoholic beverages. Now your advertisements do not need to be approved by the TTB, but they must be complaint with the regulations and it is up to the winery or “responsible advertiser” to make sure the advertisements are complaint.
Let’s examine what is considered by TTB to be an advertisement. According to TTB:
The regulations define the term”advertisement” as any written or verbal statement, illustration, or depiction which is in, or calculated to induce sales in, interstate or foreign commerce, or is disseminated by mail. Examples include ads in newspapers or magazines, trade booklets, menus, wine cards, leaflets, circulars, mailers, book inserts, catalogs, promotional materials, or sales pamphlets. The definition includes any written, printed, graphic, or other material accompanying the container; markings on cases, billboards, signs, or other outdoor display; and broadcasts made via radio, television, or in any other media. Though not specifically listed, this definition includes website and other Internet-based advertising.
That last sentence is very important. The regulations for labeling and advertising of wine have not been updated for quite some time, and they were originally written before the Internet became what it is today. So the TTB places Internet advertising under the “any other media” umbrella. The TTB considers Facebook and other social media sites to be advertising.
There is some required information for advertising material. They are listed in the regulations (27 CFR Part 4.62) as the following:
As with wine label, there are prohibited practices for wine advertising. The regulations (27 CFR Part 4.64) list them as the following.
Additionally, wine advertising may not include information that is deemed be inconsistent with labeling. Any label depicted on a bottle in an advertisement shall be a reproduction of an approved label.
Further restricted items on wine advertisements are:
Rules for advertising
It is clear that the TTB has an extensive list of prohibited practices for advertising of wine (and other alcoholic beverages) but it is consistent with the prohibited practices on wine labels. If you have any questions about anything listed in this blog post please let us know and we will clarify them further for you. It is essential for wineries to be compliant with TTB advertising regulations.