The TTB’s Got the Formula for New Beer

“What’s in a beer?” That’s a very good question, which is perhaps best asked philosophically on a warm Sunday afternoon with a crisp lager in hand. The TTB, though, regularly asks this question to ensure that beers produced in non-traditional ways, or with non-traditional added ingredients, are properly vetted.

On December 17, 2015, the TTB issued a new ruling greatly expanding the list of ingredients that can be added to a beer product without requiring formula approval from the agency. The ruling adds 50 new ingredients, including many new fruits, sugars, teas, and coffee. A full list can be found here.

While these natural products have now been exempted from the formula requirement, extracts and flavorings will still require formula approval. So while, for instance, strawberries may now be added to a beer whole, pureed, juiced, or in concentrated form without prior approval, strawberry extract or syrup may not.

Other ingredients didn’t make the final list as, during the rulemaking process, the TTB couldn’t find sufficient evidence to support the claim that they were actually used traditionally in beer making. These include juniper branches, squid ink, and pluots. So while our recipe for kale and oyster-shell infused rye can move towards production, our squid ink porter will still require the TTB’s imprimatur.

We at ShipCompliant are happy to have the list of traditional beer ingredients expand, and can’t wait to see where the wonderful beer makers out there will go with it.

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