- In . We have submitted your label(s) to TTB for approval.
. TTB’s system is very slow. These days most:
- beer labels take about 20 days
- wine labels take about 12 days
spirits labels take about 16 days
These timeframes relate to labels submitted via COLAs Online. We have submitted your labels that way (labels submitted via paper take substantially more time). The long-term trends are here (and TTB’s version is here ). The current leadtime is about the longest in many decades. Some of the reasons are here . All calculations relate to a representative sampling, and calendar days (not business days).
- ARTAL . It is very possible that you don’t really need a new label approval. TTB allows a great many changes, without the need for a new COLA, as at the list of “Allowable Revisions to Approved Labels” (“ ARTAL “). Video here . If you think you might have a similar, prior COLA and you want us to compare, please advise. This can save you a lot of time and expense.
- Expedite . It is possible for us to expedite the label, but the standard of proof is quite high. We would need clear evidence that such waits would be likely to have a devastating impact on your business, through no fault of your own. Details here . In almost all instances, it is much better to allow sufficient time.
- Review . We have checked the labels for compliance with TTB rules but our main focus has been on trying to accelerate approval. If you want a more careful review please advise. Please make sure we have all material facts. For example, if you say Napa and Chardonnay, we and TTB will assume those things to be true. If you have whiskey, and you don’t mention additives, formula, age, origin, we will assume no additives, at least four years of age, and distilled within your state. It is usually better to make sure your label is right, as opposed to “merely” approved or you got “lucky.” These articles explain why, these days, label approvals are only as good as their match to the underlying facts and law: a) Beverage Master article , b) Tito’s article .
- Trademark . Have you checked the trademark issues associated with your labels, recently? You should. On most labels we will not check trademark issues unless you specifically ask us to do so. It is increasingly common for one brand name to conflict with another. Nothing about TTB’s review or approval will affect your trademark rights or liabilities. To the extent you want us to check the trademark issues, please ask here . Dan Christopherson is an experienced trademark lawyer here, and he works closely with Lee Handford (who has more than 20 years of trademark law experience).
- Size . We will generally assume you have provided the labels at actual size. TTB has announced that it will no longer check text size issues as rigorously as in the past; instead TTB has shifted this burden to you and us. Be aware that most mandatory needs to be at least 2 mm. (each letter) — whether or not TTB has approved labels with text at another size. Do not put yourself in a position where you have, for example, a Government Warning at 1.5 mm.; TTB approves it with a reminder that it’s your responsibility to ensure proper sizing; 1,000 cases enter the stream of US commerce; TTB says the Warning is too small and tells you it is not compliant.
- Revisions . To the extent your labels have serious deficiencies likely to block approval, it may be advisable to quickly revise the labels. We have the capability to revise most labels to bring them into compliance; it is often faster for us to do this (compared to a graphic designer). In most cases it is better to fix the label instead of asking for temporary approval as is. TTB is much less liberal about use-ups compared to past years. Revisions would be billed according to the rates here . It is our obligation to check with you before changing any label; but where you have a strong preference that we should change the label if necessary, or the label should not be changed (for example it has already been printed and affixed), please advise. Where we change the label, then notify you, then TTB approves it, it is your duty to ensure that the labels in commerce will match the approved labels.
- Updates . We monitor pending labels carefully. In the event of any status change, such as approval or Needs Correction, we will generally know within a few minutes and alert you within a few hours.