The TTB recently announced that COLAs Online will have a new status called “Conditionally Approved.” The effort and new moniker are meant to streamline the finalization process for certificates of label approval for alcoholic beverages.

The new status gets invoked where the TTB desires to tell the alcoholic beverage label applicant that the TTB proposes changes to any of four fields to make the application consistent with the content of the proposed label:

  1. Brand Name
  2. Fanciful Name
  3. Appellation (wine only)
  4. Grape Varietal (wine only)

So, for instance if you presented a label with the grape varietal noted in the field as “prosecco” because you were sold grapes by the Italians under the varietal name “prosecco” before they decided to monetize the name (assuming of course this was not in line with your actual label). And before, by fiat through treaty, they then were able to enforce that name-shift in the EU and the U.S. to and precluded others from using “prosecco” and started calling it “glera” and demanding that others call it glera unless it was from the region. Then, you might find that a TTB specialist would helpfully make a notation to your “Grape Varietal” designation changing it from prosecco to glera and marking the wine label as conditionally approved pending your acceptance.

More commonly though, problems in these areas are due to misspellings or missing appellations or varietal names in fields which do appear on the labels.

Once a specialist makes a provisional change to the fields, action is required on your part. The alcoholic beverage label applicant will be notified that a change has occurred and will have 7 days to review the changes and take action wherein:

  • If you agree with all of our proposed changes, select ACCEPT. The status of your application will automatically change to Approved. No further action on your part or review on our part will be necessary.
  • If you disagree with one or more of the proposed changes, select DECLINE. The status of your application will automatically change to Needs Correction, and you can correct the inconsistencies yourself.
  • If you believe the original entries were correct, or want to provide additional information to the specialist, you may explain why you declined the changes using the Notes to Specialist field.
  • If you don’t take action within 7 days after the application is put into Conditionally Approved status, the status will automatically change to Needs Correction.

Note, the TTB will not make changes to the beverage’s label through this process, only in the fields noted to ensure they are consistent with the uploaded alcoholic beverage label and these changes will only get proposed when, but for the inconsistency, the rest of the label could be approved (so if you are missing a health statement and misspelled your brand name, then the changes will get proposed through the current and common “Needs Correction” notes and status.

Again, this is why the TTB is awesome and it is refreshing that an agency works with the industry applicants and not against them to get something accomplished.

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