Summer is upon us, which means it’s time for crisp beers, sparkling wines, and the newest member of the “refreshing” alcohol beverage family – hard seltzer. By now you’re likely aware of hard seltzer, but despite its growing popularity, consumers are still relatively limited to a few national brands and a handful of regional brands. High consumer demand and room for competition make entering the hard seltzer market an appealing proposition. If you are considering launching a line of hard seltzers, keep reading, as this article lays out some important regulatory considerations to keep in mind.
The majority of hard seltzer is produced from either a brewed-malt (“clear malt”) or brewed-sugar (where 100% of the fermentables are derived from non-malt sugar) base, with carbonated water and added flavor. Under Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations, both malt- and sugar-based hard seltzers are considered “beer,” but only malt-based hard seltzers are also considered “malt beverages.” This means that federal beer rules (27 CFR Part 25) apply to both malt- and sugar-based hard seltzers, but federal malt beverage labeling and advertising rules (27 CFR Part 7) apply only to malt-based hard seltzers.
The upshot of all this is that producing a hard seltzer with either type of base requires a Brewer’s Notice, and – if you’re...Continue Reading Leave a Comment