In recent months TTB has been busy tinkering with the label approval process. TTB announced the culmination of its streamlining efforts here. This is important for all regulated entities because, despite all these streamlining initiatives (plus the advent of computers and online filing), the average processing time for spirits has moved from a few hours to well over a month, during the past 20 years. Most spirits labels are currently taking well over 30 days, and TTB often says you should allow up to about 90 days. Since last summer, things seem a lot better with wine labels (moving from over a month to about half that). Beer has stayed relatively and consistently quick during the past several years, with an average turnaround of about a week.
In the late 1990s, if I recall correctly, it was possible to receive a label by fax, Scotch tape it to a form, Xerox it, walk it across the street to ATF, not go through a metal detector, wander around the government building until you found the label reviewer, wait your turn — and voila — walk out 45 minutes later with approval in hand. It was even possible to sit face-to-face with the reviewer and revise the application on the fly...Continue Reading Leave a Comment