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Coalition urges definition for American single malt

A trade body is calling on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to establish a standard for American single malt whiskey.

american single malt whiskey
The American single malt whiskey category is set to get its own definition

Trade group the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) and the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC) have sent a letter to the TTB to urge the government body to set a new standard for American single malts.

The ASMWC is a national association representing nearly 100 producers of American single malt across the States.

The TTB was due to publish a definition for the category in December 2021, the ASMC said in September.

Discus and ASMWC submitted official comments to the TTB in June 2019 in support of setting a standard for US-made single malt whiskey as part of TTB’s 2018 plan to modernise the labelling and advertising regulations for alcohol.

Following the proposal, TTB added a rule-making for American single malts on its semi-annual regulatory agenda in 2021 but it has yet to issue the notice of the proposed rule, Discus said.

The letter, sent on 28 April, said: “The need for the development of a standard for this growing category has reached a critical moment as more distillers than ever are labelling their products with this term while there are no formal TTB requirements for the American single malt whiskey category.”

According to the definition put forth by the ASMWC, American single malts must be made from 100% malted barley; distilled entirely at one distillery; mashed, distilled and matured in the US; matured in oak casks of no more than 700 litres; distilled to no more than 80% ABV; and bottled at 40% ABV or more.

“This new standard will establish trust in the category, clarify label declarations, and equip consumers with the necessary information to make informed purchasing decisions,” the letter said.

“The formal establishment of this category would also signal to the world that not only do we believe in and support our own distilleries, but we also recognise that American single malt whiskey is as unique as other American staples, such as Bourbon, and deserves to be similarly defined and protected.”

The coalition noted that regulations protecting Scotch whisky have been in place for generations and that similar rules are needed to protect the developing US-made single malt category.

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