TTB Makes Change to Approval of Personalized Labels

by Michael Kaiser

The following story was posted by the Associated Press today:

Schumer: Feds move to speed wine bottle labeling

Associated Press

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Sen. Charles Schumer says the federal government is taking an important step to simplify the process of approving labels for New York wines.

Schumer has been pressing the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau this summer to clear up a labeling logjam. Dozens of New York’s 300-plus wineries say getting approval for new labels is sometimes taking months instead of days.

Schumer says Tuesday the agency has agreed to immediately begin approving template labels for custom winemakers. Wineries have complained they need approval each time they made small changes to artwork or names on labels designed for special events like weddings or birthdays.

Over the last decade, the agency says its staff has been reduced by budget cutbacks while label-approval applications from wineries nationwide have almost doubled.

Senator Schumer’s office contacted WineAmerica for information about the label approval process and we suggested this to them as a step that TTB could take to speed up COLA approvals. Three years ago the TTB began requiring new COLA submittals for each different form of artwork used on personalized labels. In the past they allowed “template labels’ be used for personalized labels. That is, a generic label is submitted with the understanding that the winery will not violate labeling regulations on the bottled wine. WineAmerica supports TTB’s decision to once again allow “template labels” be used for personalized labels. Fewer submissions will reduce the time needed to review COLA submissions that do require approval. We applaud Senator Schumer’s for his efforts on this issue.

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