TTB Publishes New Nonbeverage Product Formula Form

On August 12, 2019, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published its updated Formula and Process for Nonbeverage Product, TTB Form 5154.1. The Nonbeverage Product approval process is critical to obtain “drawback” (a refund) on most of the alcohol excise tax on distilled spirits used to make such products deemed “unfit for beverage purposes.” The Nonbeverage Formula Form accordingly is important to producers of flavorings and extracts, soft drink concentrates and other non-beverage products made using potable alcohol.

Nonbeverage drawback claimants, using the Formula Form, must show that taxpaid distilled spirits were used in the manufacture of a product unfit for beverage use. Today, most formulas are submitted online, although TTB’s National Laboratory in Maryland can still accept paper submissions. Notable features of the new form include:

  1. Previously, the Nonbeverage Formula Form requested information specifically if the finished product (e.g., a flavoring) was to be used in alcohol beverages. The updated form removes these specific questions with the expectation that applicants will include the information in the “Formula and Process” portion of the Form.
  2. The updated form breaks down the outputs of the manufacturing process into:
    1. “Theoretical Yield (Weight and Volume);
    2. “Actual Yield (Weight and Volume);”
    3. “Density of Final Product (e.g., lbs/gal, g/mL);”
    4. “Manufacturing Process;” and
    5. “Unfit for Beverage Purposes Statement.”
  3. Applicants may provide an organoleptic analysis or use TTB’s Flavor Unfitness Worksheet to demonstrate that a product qualifies as unfit for beverage purposes. Completing this information along with the non-beverage formula submission will help producers determine whether or not the product is unfit for beverage purposes, and thus eligible for drawback claims, prior to production. TTB’s Drawback Tutorial here provides more information on qualifying as “unfit for beverage purposes.”

While a highly technical issue, the Nonbeverage Product Form is important because it unlocks tens of millions of dollars in excise tax refunds each year for US manufacturers using alcohol to produce nonbeverage products.

T. Marshall Fawley III
T. Marshall Fawley III focuses his practice on regulatory issues in the alcohol beverage industry as well as complex civil litigation. He counsels clients in matters relating to the sale and distribution of alcohol beverages, on both the state and federal level. His experience spans e-discovery, data privacy issues relative to antitrust litigation, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations and white-collar criminal defense. Marshall has completed extensive training on the proper utilization of litigation technology and is recognized as a Relativity Review Specialist by kCura, the developers of Relativity. Read Marshall Fawley's full bio.

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