Start Compliance Prep for Your Seasonal Beers Now

Right now, it’s easy to forget about the complex compliance process behind autumn and winter seasonal beers through the summer haze and its hazy IPAs. But breweries know these hot summer months are the best time to plan for those autumn and winter beers. Getting these beers to market can be time-consuming, and taking the first steps of label research and registration now can help ensure they’re on shelves in time.

Don’t let COLAs and state registrations set you back

Seasonal beers are a great way for brewers to explore and introduce new ingredients and flavors and capture the essence of a certain season. New beers bring new labels, often as unique and exciting as the beers they advertise. Before these beers cross state lines and consumers can enjoy them, they need certificate of label approvals (COLAs) by the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB). Now is the time to start submitting labels for the coming seasonal releases. Making sure a label is compliant and has all the correct requirements isn’t as enjoyable as taking a sip of a much-anticipated seasonal beer, but it’s an essential step in getting your products to market.

In the past, getting COLAs was sometimes a lengthy process that could hinder your timeline for getting products to market if you weren’t properly prepared. The TTB has shortened the processing and approval times. The new feature, further streamlines the process, so approvals and changes take days instead of months.

Once you’ve got COLAs handled, it’s time to look at state registrations. With requirements varying state-by-state, it can be a challenge to stay compliant. Some states have little to no requirements, while others have a bundle. Most states want a type of registration or notice that your products will be sold within the state lines at bars, restaurants and liquor stores. A handful of states have their own label requirements to which you must adhere, while others will accept COLAs as proof of compliance. With each state having different processes and steps to compliance, planning and preparing with the right tools is instrumental to getting your seasonal beer in the hands of consumers.

The importance of labels

With thousands of beers on the shelves, a distinguished label can really make a beer stand out. According to Consolidated Label Co., 66 percent of American craft beer buyers say that a beer’s package or label is “very” or “extremely” important for getting them to notice it, and 60 percent say the package or label is “very” or “extremely” important in convincing them to give it a try and buy it. With shifting demographics making millennials the largest consumer group for craft beer, bold and interesting labels are synonymous with successful beers.

New trends and themes continue to pop up. Traditional winter beer styles like stouts, porters, and imperials are expanding to include barrel-aged, winter IPAs and featured flavors of chocolate, coffee, eggnog and more.

An evil Santa, a mad elf and a ninja gingerbread man are just a few of the spirited and unique labels you’ll find while strolling down the beer aisle in the coming months. Now is the time to make sure your compliance process is in order to ensure your seasonal beer labels will be on the shelves too.

Advantages of automated compliance solution

Compliance is integral to your operation, but rarely the easiest part. Some of the common burdens around compliance include product management complexity, too much time dedicated to researching and keeping up to date on federal and state regulations, and delays in getting products to market from unpredicted compliance issues. Reducing the burdens of compliance and simplifying your process can give you significant advantages.

An automated solution can keep you ahead of competitors. ShipCompliant by Sovos’ Market Ready eliminates the compliance burden with automated product management workflow and real-time government integration. A simplified process for label research and product and brand label registration gives you plenty of time to sit back and sip on your newest brews. Market Ready gets your products to market more efficiently, giving you the opportunity to beat competitors to the shelves with new products and get the attention of key distributors.


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