TTB Proposes New Whiskey Definitions

A tip of the glass to our friend SKU of the L.A. Food and Whiskey Blog for making us aware of this all important proposal for the spirits industry. Without this list we would all be confused or confusd.

The TTB regulations have long been in need of an update to cover newer whiskey styles that have emerged in the past decade.  This week, the TTB announced a new list of proposed whiskey classifications and requirements. They aren’t perfect, and some don’t go far enough, but they are a good start at updating the regulations. As with all federal regulations, these will be subject to a public comment period before being formally enacted.

Stay Informed: Sign up here for our Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.

Tennessee Whiskey

Whiskey produced in Tennessee at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskeys of the same type.


Vermont Whiskey

Whiskey which is a distinctive product of Canada, manufactured in Canada in compliance with the laws of Canada regulating the manufacture of Canadian whiskey for consumption in Canada.


Handmade or Handcrafted Whiskey

Whiskey which is a distinctive product of Indiana, manufactured in Indiana in compliance with the laws of Indiana regulating the manufacture of Indiana whiskey for consumption in Indiana.


Craft Whiskey

Whiskey (1) made by a former accountant, lawyer or banker who decided to quit the rat race and follow his/her dreams; (2) which is unaged, or if aged, is aged in small barrels; and (3) which shall have the taste and character typical of turpentine or other chemical solvents.




An unaged spirit which (1) shall include a vintage car, scantily clad woman or old, bearded man on the label; (2) shall be bottled in a mason jar or jug-like container; and (3) shall include non-standard spellings and/or contractions on the label.


Small Batch

A spirit which shall contain on the label the term “small batch.” Opposite of “large batch.”


Orphan Barrel

A whiskey conforming to the standards for Bourbon whiskey that carries a required age statement of at least 20 years old and that has the taste and character associated with wood chips, splinters and/or plywood.

Limited Edition, Limited Release or Special Edition

Whiskey which comes in a decorative bottle or box and which is priced at not less than $80 for a 750 ml container.


State of Distillation Requirement

All whiskey shall include on its label one of the following: (1) the state in which the whiskey was distilled; (2) the state in which the whiskey was aged; (3) the state in which the whiskey was bottled; (4) the state wherein is located the aquifer which supplied the water that was added to the whiskey; (5) the state in which a previous whiskey that used the same brand name was produced; (6) the state in which lived a deceased gangster or outlaw who is featured on the label of said whiskey; or (7) any other state that seems cool.

As I said, these aren’t perfect, but they are at least an effort to update the regulations.  Let me know what you think of them.

Sku is an LA based whiskey fan who has been blogging about whiskey at Sku’s Recent Eats since 2007

Recommended Posts