TTB Raises ABLA Violation Penalties

A change in the penalty amount required by law for violations of the Alcohol Beverage Labeling Act of 1988 (“ABLA”) was recently published this month. ABLA established the requirement that all alcoholic beverages display the following warning statement:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.”

This statement must be on every label for every alcoholic beverage manufactured, imported, or bottled for sale or distribution in the United States, as well as on containers of alcoholic beverages that are manufactured, imported, bottled, or labeled for sale, distribution, or shipment to members or units of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those located outside the United States.

In the past, the civil penalty for violations of the ABLA was $10,000, with each day constituting a new offense. In July of 2016, the penalty was briefly raised to $19,787, as an interim number before the final adjustment was calculated. On January 10, 2017, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) announced it was raising the penalty to $20,111, with each day constituting a new offense. The new penalty rate is effective immediately. The published announcement can be viewed on the Federal Register website here.

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