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#1 User is offline   pepperonikkid 

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  Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:56 AM

How DC bureaucrats want to jack up the cost of booze

By Chuck Muth
October 9, 2019


People can argue whether the best wine is made in California or New York. We can argue about whether the best whiskey is made in Kentucky or Tennessee. But one thing is for sure: nothing worthwhile is added when bottles are dragged through a swamp.

Unfortunately, some swamp creatures have taken it upon themselves to interfere in the country's alcohol markets, and they are driving up prices by slapping on regulations imposed in Washington.

This is exactly the opposite of what President Trump wants. His administration is supposed to be working to make American spirits and wine more price-competitive with the rest of the world. For example, it recently announced that, at the end of October, it will impose $7.5 billion in new tariffs, including on Scotch whiskey and French wine, to make American-made distilled spirits more competitive and pressure other countries to drop their duties. However, unelected bureaucrats are working to undercut the gains he is bringing to the marketplace by imposing new regulations that violate the president's deregulatory desires and will drive U.S. prices up, not down.

The cause of trouble is an obscure agency named the "Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau," also known as TTB.

Late last year, TTB issued Notice No. 176, the "Modernization of the Labeling and Advertising Regulations for Wine, Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages." That sounds innocent enough. But the end result would be a massive increase in costs.

For example, the rule would force companies to resubmit all their alcohol labels for reapproval. "Upon request by the appropriate TTB officer, bottlers and importers must provide evidence of label approval for a label that is used on an alcohol beverage container and that is subject to the certification of label approval (COLA) requirements of the applicable part," the rule says. "Where labels on containers reflect revisions to the approved label that have been made in compliance with allowable revisions authorized to be made on the COLA form or otherwise authorized by TTB, the bottler or importer must be able to identify the COLA covering the product, upon request by the appropriate TTB officer."

That's all as clear as swamp mud. Meanwhile, TTB threatens to fine any company that won't comply with its confusing rule.

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