Senator Chuck Schumer Calling for TTB Expansion Amid Craft-Distilling Boom
July 7, 2015
If you currently own or operate a facility that manufactures or sells alcohol or tobacco, you have likely dealt with the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (or “TTB” for short).
The TTB has been in operation since the end of prohibition and throughout that time has had a fairly steady workflow. However, something peculiar happened in recent years with the explosion of the craft beer and distilling industries.
Until recently, the beer industry was dominated by the two beer giants – Anheuser-Busch InBev and Miller-Coors. This “duopoly” persisted for many years and meant that TTB’s beer department was pretty much focused on two major entities. As micro-breweries have boomed in recent years, the waiting times for permit approvals and overall agency response times have also grown. With the looming explosion of craft distilleries expected in the coming years, the effects should only further backlog the agency.
In response, Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer has recently called for the agency to receive more funding in part to hire more investigators. It may come as a surprise to many that New York has the second most distilleries in the nation, trailing only Washington state. As New York is on the forefront of the craft distilling market, Senator Schumer appears to be one of the early advocates calling for more resources for TTB to help out the industry as a whole.
According to WBNG in Binghampton, NY, Senator Schumer recently commented during a visit to New York-based Cooperstown Distillery, that "[t]here are about ten TTB for every state in the union, these inspectors and reviewers have a huge responsibility,” further adding that “[i]t's hard for you to have to get out of bed in the morning if you’re a distiller or a brewer without the approval of the TTB."
Schumer expects that it will cost approximately $5 million for TTB to hire additional agents to help meet the demand.