Beverage Industry Coalition Representing all Three-Tiers Says Congress Should Fully Fund TTB

Industry Groups Note Constructive and Effective Relationship with Regulator, Say Government Needs to Increase TTB Budget to Keep Pace with Changing Market

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A diverse coalition of organizations representing all three tiers of the U.S. beverage alcohol industry is urging Congress to fully fund the Obama Administration’s $101 million request for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

In a letter sent to appropriations committee chairmen in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, the coalition praised the successful working relationship between the beverage alcohol industry and its primary federal regulator.

In addition, the industry groups also pointed out that TTB is the federal government’s third-biggest revenue generating agency behind the Internal Revenue Service and Customs and Border Protection. It also noted that TTB officials review well over 100,000 labels and thousands of product formulas each year, as well as completing all license review and background checks.

“[TTB’s] ability to respond swiftly and properly to changes in the alcohol industry has a direct impact on jobs, consumer protection, the innovation of new products, and the collection of federal excise taxes,” the letter said. It noted that TTB’s workforce had been cut by more than 50 full-time staff members at a time when the number of companies and products in the sector has increased by more than 53 percent.

“We need a well-funded TTB to be able to process label requests quickly in order to get new products to market in this highly competitive global marketplace. We also need a well-funded TTB to prevent and guard against unscrupulous actors from entering our marketplace who otherwise could harm the public with dangerous products, which has occurred outside of the United States with counterfeit alcohol,” the letter stated.

“The signatories of this letter to Members of Congress represent all three tiers of the beverage alcohol industry in the United States: suppliers (spirits, wine and beer), distributors and retailers. This is a testament to how critically important it is that our federal regulator, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, be appropriately funded in order to conduct timely, regulatory functions for our industry,” said Vicky McDowell, President/CEO of The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry.

“The TTB is vital to the success of the dynamic beer industry,” said Jim McGreevy, President and CEO of the Beer Institute. “The agency has a proven history of maintaining balanced regulations that support the needs of both consumers and brewers. This is not the time to question the budget of an agency that is integral to job creation and expansion for brewers and beer importers.”

“The TTB is the most efficient tax-collection agency in the federal government, and it also provides a useful role in keeping consumers safe. So it’s simply a smart investment for Congress to fully fund the TTB,” said Craig Purser National Beer Wholesalers Association President & CEO.

“The TTB has built a long record of protecting consumer safety, providing appropriate oversight and industry support. It is essential to the beverage industry and our employees that this agency expands to meet the growing and changing needs of today’s modern beverage alcohol industry,” said Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) President and CEO Craig Wolf.

The letter was sent to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) as well as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (R-Md.) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). A copy of the letter is available here.

Organizations that signed the letter include: American Beverage Licensees, The Beer Institute, Brewers Association, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, National Association of Beverage Importers, Inc., National Beer Wholesalers Association, The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry, WineAmerica, Wine Institute, and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.

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