Perhaps you are looking to stand out or just do something different at your distillery? A move from a standard bottle could be just what you are looking for. It may take a bit of time and effort, but it is entirely possible to create a distinctive bottle that is different from anything your competitors have. Like everything else in the alcohol world, planning is key. And, that planning will have to go beyond design work, bottle production, fill procedures, and so on. Proper permission from the federal government is necessary and you should allow plenty of time for the distinctive bottle to be approved as you plan its introduction into your distillery.
Standard liquor bottles are made and formed so that they do not mislead the purchaser. The federal government requires that a liquor bottle of a capacity of 200 milliliters or more shall be held to be so filled as to mislead the purchaser if they have a headspace in excess of 8 percent of the total capacity of the bottle after closure. Further, if the actual capacity is substantially less than the capacity the bottle appears to have upon visual examination under ordinary conditions of purchase or use, then the liquor bottle shall be deemed to be misleading to the purchaser.
There is an exception to these rules. That exception is for those who have made application to TTB for use of a distinctive bottle. The application for distinctive liquor bottle approval is made on appropriate government forms. The proprietor must certify as to the total capacity of a representative sample bottle before closure (expressed in milliliters) on each copy of the form. In addition, the proprietor must affix a readily legible photograph (showing both front and back of the bottle) to the front of each copy of the application for use of a distinctive bottle, along with the label(s) to be used on the bottle. The proprietor must submit to TTB an actual bottle or accurate model only when specifically requested to do so. The proprietor should keep a copy of the approved application on premises.
TTB will approve the distinctive bottle application if the proprietor shows that:
1) that the requirements of labeling and advertising its distilled spirits are being met,
2) that the bottle is, in fact, distinctive,
3) that the bottle is suitable for its intended purposes,
4) that the bottle does not jeopardize the revenue, (in other words, you have to protect the spirit!), and
5) the bottle cannot be misleading to the consumer.
Distinctive bottles could provide you with some flexibility and a great opportunity to identify your brand. If you have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to contact our office.