Most Common Brewery Compliance Issues Found During TTB Inspections and Audits – Part 1
Running a brewery sounds like a dream job to many, and it can be, but the ongoing regulatory requirements remain vast and complex. This is why many alcohol manufacturers use outside consultants and counsel to navigate these ever-changing regulations. This leaves the brewery and its employees to do what they do best, brew and sell amazing Virginia craft beer.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has provided a detailed list of the most common problems and violations that their investigators and auditors come across. The TTB provides four main areas where issues are most commonly found at breweries. Below is a sample from www.ttb.gov/beer:
2. Production and Inventory
Yes, this may be boring, but staying compliant will save you in the long run.
This article will discuss issue number one, TTB Record Keeping.
1. Records Issues
Daily Records of Operations
TTB auditors most frequently cite a brewer’s lack of and inaccuracy of records required under TTB regulations as the number one non-compliance issue. Under 27 CFR part 25, brewers must complete and maintain daily records and reports that capture information about brewery operations. These daily records must include:
Each kind of material received and used in the production of beer;
The amount of beer produced;
Beer transferred for, and returned from, bottling and racking, or bottled, racked, or removed from the brewery;
Beer removed for consumption or sale — For each removal, the record shows the date of removal, the person to whom the brewer shipped or delivered the beer, and the quantities of beer removed calculated in kegs and in bottles;
Beer removed without payment of tax — For each removal, the record shows the date of removal, the person to whom the brewer shipped or delivered the beer, and the quantities of beer removed in kegs, bottles, tanks, tank cars, tank trucks, tank ships, barges, or deep tanks of vessels;
Packaged beer used for laboratory samples at the brewery;
Beer consumed at the brewery;
Beer returned to the brewery from which it was originally removed or from another brewery that the brewer owns;
Beer reconditioned, used as material, or destroyed;
Beer received from other breweries or received from pilot brewing plants;
Beer lost due to breakage, theft, casualty or other unusual cause;
Brewing materials sold or transferred to pilot brewing plants (including the name and address of the person to whom it was shipped or delivered) and brewing materials used in the manufacture of wort, wort concentrate, malt syrup and malt extract for sale or removal;
Record of tests of measuring devices; and
Beer purchased from other brewers in the purchasing brewer’s barrels and kegs and such beer sold to other brewers.
All entries in the daily records must show the date of the operation or transaction, accurately and clearly reflect the details of each operation or transaction, and contain all data necessary to enable brewers to prepare summaries, reports, and returns. The records should verify removals of beer, verify claims, and confirm compliance with laws and regulations.
Under 27 CFR 25.294, brewers must take a physical inventory of beer and cereal beverage (A beverage, produced either wholly or in part from malt (or a substitute for malt), and either fermented or unfermented, which contains, when ready for consumption, less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of alcohol by volume) at least once per calendar month. The brewer must retain inventory records and make them available for inspection when an appropriate TTB officer requests them.
The record of inventory must include the following:
Quantity of beer and cereal beverage on hand;
Losses, gains, and shortages; and
Signature–under penalties of perjury–of the brewer or person taking the inventory.
This is just a small example of the federal regulations that Virginia breweries must adhere to. To review more of TTB’s four main areas of non-compliance, you can visit, https://www.brewerycompliance.com/brewery-audits.