Posts Tagged ‘statement of composition’
Well here I sit, writing on day 15 of the shutdown. All the government stuff I need (such as COLAs Online) is unavailable. Thank goodness that all the private stuff is available. It takes a lot of public and private resources to make this blog go. That is, on the private side, I need my web server, my ISP, my WordPress, Google, a bit of AC power, etc.
Increasingly, I also need my LabelVision. LabelVision is a tremendous resource, provided by the people at ShipCompliant. It provides various ways to scour TTB’s label database, even when TTB’s systems are down. LabelVision enabled me to quickly find the WinterJack COLA as above. To find this label, my other and much less appealing options would have been to wait until TTB re-opens someday, or jump in the car and drive around until I find this new product.
I had a sudden need to look at this Tennessee Cider label in order to explore what is new and current in distilled spirits specialty (“DSS”) labeling, and the statements of composition (“SOC”) that go along with this category of spirits. To recap, where you have a common type, set out in the regulations, it is sufficient to mention simply VODKA or RUM or TEQUILA or WHISKEY. But where you have something more like miscellany, it is necessary to provide, on the front label, a “statement of composition.” This needs to appear near the “fanciful name” (and “brand name”) — and needs to match the SOC as suggested on the approved formula (formula approval is required for all DSS products). Most suggested SOCs have the alcohol base, then flavors, then colors, with very little extraneous matter. And so, the “normalized” SOC, here, would be LIQUEUR, WHISKEY, CARAMEL COLOR. Not too enticing.
So, with plenty of marketing prowess, the mighty Jack Daniel Distillery has substantially rearranged the various terms. Even the smallest changes (such as changing WITH NATURAL FLAVOR to WITH NATURAL FLAVORS) can cause delays, needs correction notices and rejections. Here, it seems Brown-Forman changed what would have been the TTB-suggested SOC, to add a whole lot of puff. All these words got added to the SOC: A, SEASONAL, BLEND, OF, APPLE, CIDER, JACK, DANIEL’S®, TENNESSEE. All these words got removed (from the SOC): CARAMEL COLOR. That is, the most-probably-suggested-SOC and the approved-label’s-SOC do not have a whole lot in common. And yet the label got approved.
I am not trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with the label or the SOC at issue. Instead I am using this label as an example of how the seemingly simple requirement, to put an SOC on the front, can raise many legal issues. Should the caramel be shown in the same font and color as the remainder of the SOC? With the caramel moved a line below the SOC, would it be ok to move it a bit more, such as to the back label? At what point does the puff, in the SOC, go too far and crowd out and obscure the true SOC? Could Brown-Forman add the caramel to the whiskey component, rather than the end product, in order to de-emphasize or avoid label references to color? For every approval like this, with a “creative” SOC, how many times did TTB press for an SOC that much more closely matches what is suggested on the formula approval?
The Buck Bunny didn’t get very far. It stopped not far from this 2006 approval. Maybe the antlers, or the spirits, or Jägermeister got in the way.
A contributor in California was concerned about the spirits added to this product, and the overall appearance. He said:
It seems legally interesting because it seems to contradict the TTB labeling code about wines containing distilled spirits and being similar to distilled spirits. Maybe those rules don’t apply to flavored wines. Also, it reminds me of a Jackelope.
Quite possibly, it also reminded Peach Street Distillers of a Jackelope. Peach Street rolled out their Jackelope Gin about a year later.
The spirits are probably a minor problem, compared to the other issues noted above. It is common to add spirits to wine. It is less common to mention them, but it is usually required, when those spirits are not derived from the same fruit as the base wine. Here it is grape wine with citrus spirits. If it were grape wine with grape brandy, the spirits would be less likely to show on the label.
They have a spirits-related brand name, common cocktail names, spirits-shaped bottles and an alcohol content that is high for beer. The website goes so far as to describe the first one as a “traditional margarita.” The other versions are Hurricane, Pina Colada and Long Island Iced Tea. In a bout of writing that would not make Don Draper proud, the Pina Colada back label would have you believe this product, going for a few bucks per bottle, is the next best thing to having your own island. If so, I wouldn’t want to draw whatever is third best.
Perhaps mxologi is an Anheuser-Busch response to the very successful line of malt beverages under the Smirnoff name. After all, the Smirnoff products certainly suggest spirits, and also happen to be made with sucralose.
Here is Bacardi Torched Cherry Rum with Natural Flavors. It is apparently made with “torched plant aloe.”
The use of aloe as a flavor is curious because it’s not clear how aloe tastes, and various sources say aloe does not taste especially good. This product is one of very few TTB products that seem to contain aloe. Even these find no room for aloe. As of this writing, the other flavors in the line are:
- Dragon Berry
Apart from aloe, this label suggests TTB will allow the term “Rum” to appear larger than “with natural flavors.” And yet, on other distilled spirits specialties, such as an identical product made with a vodka base, it is unlikely TTB would allow “Vodka” to appear in a more prominent way compared to the rest of the statement of composition. It is not clear why TTB polices the term “vodka” so rigorously, but not other comparable terms, such as “rum.” Another example of this is, the government clearly allows “cherry rum” (as above) but would probably not allow “cherry vodka.” This example is easier to understand because, as a matter of law and history, rum is only made from cane products, so confusion is unlikely. But in the case of a “cherry vodka” it would be more difficult to be sure about whether the product is distilled from cherries or just has a cherry flavor. It is possible that “vodka” is more sensitive due to controversy around this Skyy Blue label from many years ago.
Calvin knows a thing or two about the booze business. Not to mention all manner of other intoxicants. (I need to warm up to calling him by his assumed name.)
Sixteen years ago Cordazar Calvin Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg) released a little song called “Gin & Juice.” It set off a big chain of events. It helped to launch his career, garnering a 1995 Grammy nomination. It also unleashed a slew of covers, such as this country version by The Gourds (it is slightly less obscene than the original, if only because it’s a little harder to make out the words).
And most to the point, it also apparently unleashed the Gin & Juice product line as above. It’s possible that Seagram got there first, but I would tend to doubt it, based on not much more than the age of the song. The song specifically refers to the Seagram and Tanqueray brands of gin. There is a whole lot in the song to horrify right-thinking persons, such as flagrant disregard for women, drug laws, mom’s wishes. But even more pernicious is the nonchalance about drinking and driving. In the original video, Snoop doesn’t quite cruise down the boulevard while sipping his gin and juice, but he might as well, as he sits behind the wheel and re-fills his cup.
Most of the lyrics are too obscene, even for this adult publication, but the most pertinent and repeatable are as follows:
Now, that, I got me some Seagram’s gin
Everybody got they cups, but they ain’t chipped in
Later on that day
My homey Dr. Dre came through with a gang of Tanqueray