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Discus aims to ease rules on hand sanitiser production

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) is working with the US government on relaxing a regulation that requires distilleries to pay tax on making hand sanitisers with undenatured ethanol.

Distillers across the US can make hand sanitiser without a special permit

Trade association Discus is working with the US Congress and the Trump Administration to “make an emergency fix” to allow distilleries to make hand sanitiser using the ethanol they have, whether its denatured or undenatured, to enable quick production of the disinfectant “without having to expend additional resources and time”.

The Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has relaxed rules to permit distillers to make hand sanitiser, but were unable to waive the tax for producers using undenatured ethanol. The TTB has also eased rules that required distillers to have a special permit to produce hand sanitiser, as long as it holds a beverage producer’s permit.

Discus and members of its technical committee have been working with the TTB to remove regulatory barriers and speed up guidance for distillers on the production of hand sanitiser.

Furthermore, the TTB will allow the production of hand sanitiser without formula approval as long as distilleries follow the World Health Organization recipe for the disinfectant, which includes grain neutral spirits, glycerin and hydrogen peroxide.

“We want to thank our regulator partners at the Tax and Trade Bureau for working with us to cut through the red tape so we can quickly help fill this need in our country,” said Chris Swonger, CEO of Discus.

“We appreciate Congress’ efforts to work with us and the Tax and Trade Bureau to make this important change regarding the federal excise tax and hand sanitiser production.

“The distilled spirits industry is already facing difficult times with tariffs and the shutdown of bars and restaurants. Distillers are members of the community and want to help, but forcing them to pay taxes on the hand sanitiser is just plain wrong.”

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