The Distilled Spirits Industry

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DFP Distilleries

Getting Started in the Distilled Spirits Industry

Before even beginning operations in the production or sale of distilled spirits products, a business owner must first decide on what type of distilled spirits activity that the new business will engage in.  Doing this will not only determine the specific application procedure needed to be completed, but will also allow the business owner to initiate the application process for that area of distilled spirits activity.

When all of the forms and other required application materials are submitted to TTB, a discovery process will verify confirmation of those involved in the businesses legal eligibility.  Any successful completion of application will result in the authorization by the TTB to begin distilled spirits operations.

Identify the type of distilled spirits operation you want to start:

This is possibly the most important, and in many cases, the hardest decision made prior to getting started in the distilled spirits industry; deciding which type of operation to initiate.  There are four different subdivisions within the Distilled Spirits Industry:

  • Distilled Spirits Plant – Beverage
  • Distilled Spirits Plant – Industrial
  • Distilled Spirits Plant – Industrial/Beverage
  • Experimental Distilled Spirits Plant

The application process among these four types of distilled spirits subdivisions has many similarities, being all in the same industry. However, there are definitely significant differences among them which effect how a business can become qualified within that subdivision of the Distilled Spirits Industry.

Distilled Spirits Plant – Beverage

A distilled spirits plant may be established to produce, bottle, rectify, process or store beverage spirits.  Examples of beverage distilled spirits include neutral spirits or alcohol (i.e. vodka or grain spirits), whiskey, gin, brandy, blended applejack, rum, Tequila, cordials and liqueurs.

Distilled Spirits Plant – Industrial

A distilled spirits plant may be established to manufacture articles, or produce, bottle or package, denature or warehouse spirits for industrial use.  These spirits are not intended for beverage use.  Distilled spirits Vinegar Plants also fall into this category.

Distilled Spirits Plant – Industrial/Beverage

A distilled spirits plant may conduct beverage and industrial operations from the same premises. If you wish to produce both beverage and industrial distilled spirits, you need to file an application to conduct both types of operations.

Experimental Distilled Spirits Plant

An experimental distilled spirits plant may be established for specific and limited periods of time solely for experimentation in or development of industrial spirits or sources of materials used to produce spirits or processes for producing or refining spirits.

Application to TTB

In order to complete the TTB Application process you must not only complete and pass the qualification process, but submit all of the forms that provide the TTB with all the needed information to consider your application.

The original qualification requires completing the process of providing the TTB with all of the information requested in the application requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and, for producers and blenders, the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.

The purpose of this is to:

  • Provide identification of yourself as the applicant.
  • Identify the nature, location and extent of the premises where you’ll be conducting business.
  • Identify the specific type of operations that will be conducted on the premises.

In order to complete the screening/investigative process TTB will determine that the business is legally eligible and qualified to conduct a distilled spirits industry operation.  This research is not an overnight process and can take sometimes as long as 90 or more days, but when the research is completed, the applicant(s) will be notified if authorization to proceed with the business has been granted or not.

Submitting the Application

If someone signs the application on your behalf, you need to give signing authority.

This application can be submitted online or through standard mail delivery to the National Revenue Center’s TTB location in Cincinnati, OH.

Incomplete applications cannot be processed by the NRC.

If supplemental documents or information are missing, the application will be returned.

Signing Authority

If someone will be signing the application and/or supporting documents or act on your behalf, you must submit one of the following with your application. If you are filing as a sole owner and someone will sign documents on your behalf, you must file TTB F 5000.8 – Power of Attorney. If you are opening a Experimental DSP, you need to complete TTB F 5000.8.

  • TTB F 5000.8, Power of Attorney
  • TTB F 5100.1, Signing Authority for Corporate or LLC Officials
  • Corporate resolution or specific notification in organizational documents granting this authority

The Decision

A TTB Distilled Spirits Application Specialist will review your application.

The Application Specialist will contact you by telephone to conduct an interview, make necessary corrections or additions to the application and discuss supplemental information or documentation.

When the application is correct and the interview process has been completed, one of two things will happen:

  • The application will be referred to the Trade Investigations Division for an on-site investigation, or
  • Recommendation and decision will be made at the NRC. The recommendations include:
    • Approval
    • Denial
    • Abandonment

This is a rather lengthy process, and this is only the first step of many between the federal and the state government in order to begin producing, labeling and selling your product are continued applications prior to approval.  If you have any questions, or would like to utilize our experience and ability to streamline the application process with obtaining your own Distilled Spirits Permit, please contact us.


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