On Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) released new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning sugar claims made on labels and in advertising.  The FAQs articulate, for the first time, a clear TTB policy on the subject and apply to all malt beverages (e.g., beer), wines and distilled spirits subject to TTB’s Federal Alcohol Administration Act jurisdiction.

The FAQs are notable in three primary respects:

  1. TTB will permit truthful and non-misleading sugar claims, provided that they are adequately supported by testing.
  2. TTB will consider a sugar claim the same as a carbohydrate claim and, thus, labels and advertisements making such claims must include a statement of average analysis in accordance with TTB Rulings 2004-1 and 2013-2.
  3. TTB will permit products containing less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving to make the claims “zero sugar,” “no sugar” or “sugar free.”

The new policy does not apply to certain terms applied to wines and related to sugar content (e.g., “late harvest”) that were subject to prior rulings on such terms.

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