Yesterday, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published Ruling 2015-1. It re-states and supersedes Ruling 2014-4, notably by adding more than 50 new ingredients that a brewer can use in beer without the need to obtain an approved formula (or a pre-import approval for imported beer) from TTB.
With this new Ruling, TTB has exempted the vast majority of flavoring materials added to beer, including many fruits and spices, sugars, chocolate, tea and coffee. It does not (and cannot due to the language of existing regulations) exempt flavorings and extracts, however, which continue to require formula approval prior to use. In other words, while a brewer can add watermelon, watermelon juice, watermelon puree or watermelon concentrate to a beer without obtaining formula approval, adding a watermelon flavor still requires formula approval.