Looking to use Distinctive Bottles for your Distilled Spirits?

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Blog 25

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.

We're Here to Help

Dear friends in the alcoholic beverage industry,

As we as an industry, nation and planet collectively try to navigate this unprecedented period the coronavirus has brought us, We’d like you to know that we at Craft Beverage Consultants (the other CBC!) are here to answer any question you may have (or not know you have) about not just surviving this time but positioning yourself to thrive as soon as social distancing measures allow your business to function at full capacity again.

If you schedule a free 60-minute phone or video conferencing consultation with me or any of my 11 highly specialized colleagues, we’ll help you figure out any of your immediate and/or longterm business needs, or “everything but the staffing,” as we like to say. We’re not high-pressure sales kind of people, especially these days, so you don’t have to worry about fending off annoying pitches. Make an appointment on our website or Facebook page, or just call us the old-fashioned way at 314-768-0220.

Our experts have a combined 150 years in the alcoholic beverage industry, with deep knowledge in everything from sales and distribution, production, and regulatory compliance to marketing, package design, event planning, IT, (social) media, hospitality, and even values-based executive coaching. 

For example, we can coach you through this season when chain accounts have canceled their spring, in some cases, fall resets and distributors have drastically cut orders. Our director of business strategy and compliance can save you money – now – on excise taxes, caution you to avoid naming your beers in ways that risk alienating your buyers (Wuhan Wheat? Coronavirus Cream Ale? Groan. No.), and secure TTB approval for the tastefully named beers you do make. Our creative director and web team can get your e-commerce site up and running and launch a social media campaign that keeps you top of mind for current and future customers. Our director of storytelling can put you in front of the press so you can tell your story to your community. 

Once you’re ready, we can look forward together. Now is the time to talk about post-virus. We all suspect the legal landscape to look different. But how? And how do you prepare yourself in a way that positions you to charge out of the gate ready to maximize the potential and profit of whatever the “new normal” turns out to be? Please get in touch so we can talk about it. 

CBC’s roster includes local and regional clients like Epic Brewing, Logboat Brewing, Piney River Brewing, SudWerk Brewing, Waves Cider and Common Cider Company, just to name a few.  The agency was founded in 2004 by Jacob and Beth Halls, formerly known as Convergence Consulting; Rick Laxague, joined as a partner in charge of sales, marketing and distribution consulting in 2019. 

Rick hase close to 20 years of experience, a bulk of which was with Crescent Crown Distributing in Arizona. His last role there was Area Sales Manager for the dedicated craft beer division, coaching and leading a sales team to be nationally recognized. In early 2014 Rick helped take a regional brewery national as their Director of National Accounts and increase that segment of their business from 30,000 cases to almost 300,000 cases in two years, an increase that equates to $4.8 million in IRI dollar sales. 

Co-founder Jacob Halls brings 17 years of experience in regulatory compliance, business strategy, marketing and craft brand management to the company. In his former position as craft brand manager for the N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company in Columbia, Missouri, Jacob helped lead his team to winning the 2016 Distributor of the Year award from New Belgium and to a nomination for the Brewers Association’s Distributor of the Year award. Jacob is also the founder and director of the South East Craft Beer Fest and several other industry specific charitable event marketing festivities. Beth Halls is Director of Business Operations and Coordinator of Charity Operations for the festivals and events run by CBC, such as the South East Craft Beer Fest, MO Bacon & Bourbon, and many more. 

Again, please reach out to us for anything.  CBC can be reached at (314) 768-0220 or at

We look forward to meeting/talking soon.


Rick Laxague, Jacob Halls, and Beth Halls