Elimination of Certain Standards of Fill for Wine, 31257-31264 [2019-13768]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules (h) Exceptions to EASA AD 2019–0035 (1) For purposes of determining compliance with the requirements of this AD: Where Paragraphs (1) and (3) of EASA AD 2019–0035 refer to its effective date, this AD requires using April 4, 2019 (the effective date of AD 2019–05–09). (2) For purposes of determining compliance with the requirements of this AD: Where Paragraph (4) of EASA AD 2019–0035 refers to its effective date, this AD requires using the effective date of this AD. (3) The ‘‘Remarks’’ section of EASA AD 2019–0035 does not apply to this AD. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS (i) No Reporting Requirement Although certain service information referenced in EASA AD 2019–0035 specifies to submit certain information to the manufacturer, this AD does not include that requirement. (j) Other FAA AD Provisions The following provisions also apply to this AD: (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Section, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k)(2) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-116-AMOCREQUESTS@faa.gov. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain instructions from a manufacturer, the instructions must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA; or EASA; or Airbus SAS’s EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOAauthorized signature. (3) Required for Compliance (RC): For any service information referenced in EASA AD 2019–0035 that contains RC procedures and tests: Except as required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD, RC procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator’s maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC require approval of an AMOC. (k) Related Information (1) For information about EASA AD 2019– 0035, contact the EASA, Konrad-Adenauer- VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 Ufer 3, 50668 Cologne, Germany; telephone +49 221 89990 6017; email ADs@ easa.europa.eu; internet www.easa.europa.eu. You may find this EASA AD on the EASA website at https:// ad.easa.europa.eu. You may view this EASA AD at the FAA, Transport Standards Branch, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 206–231–3195. EASA AD 2019–0035 may be found in the AD docket on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA–2019–0495. (2) For more information about this AD, contact Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Section, Transport Standards Branch, FAA, 2200 South 216th St., Des Moines, WA 98198; telephone and fax 206– 231–3223. Issued in Des Moines, Washington, on June 21, 2019. Dionne Palermo, Acting Director, System Oversight Division, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2019–13888 Filed 6–28–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Part 4 [Docket No. TTB–2019–0004; Notice No. 182] RIN 1513–AB56 Elimination of Certain Standards of Fill for Wine Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: In this document, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) addresses numerous petitions requesting that TTB amend the regulations that govern wine containers to provide for additional authorized standards of fill. TTB is proposing to eliminate all but a minimum standard of fill for wine containers and thus eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements and provide consumers broader purchasing options. TTB welcomes comments on this proposed deregulation, and it also seeks comments on the relative merits of alternatives, such as adding new authorized standards of fill and developing an expedited process for adding additional standards in the future. All of these approaches would eliminate restrictions that inhibit competition and the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31257 Comments must be received on or before August 30, 2019. ADDRESSES: Please send your comments on this proposed rule to one of the following addresses: • Internet: https:// www.regulations.gov (via the online comment form for this document as posted within Docket No. TTB–2019– 0004 at ‘‘Regulations.gov,’’ the Federal e-rulemaking portal); • U.S. Mail: Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; or • Hand delivery/courier in lieu of mail: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Suite 400E, Washington, DC 20005. See the Public Participation section of this document for specific instructions and requirements for submitting comments, and for information on how to request a public hearing. You may view copies of this proposed rule and any comments TTB receives about this proposal at https:// www.regulations.gov within Docket No. TTB–2019–0004. A link to that docket is posted on the TTB website at https:// www.ttb.gov/wine/winerulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 182. You also may view copies of this proposed rule and any comments TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. Please call 202– 453–2135 to make an appointment. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Berry, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Regulations and Rulings Division; telephone 202–453– 1039, ext. 275. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: Background TTB Authority The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers regulations setting forth bottle size and related standards of fill for containers of wine products distributed within the United States. The authority to establish these standards is based on section 105(e) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), codified at 27 U.S.C. 205(e), which authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe regulations relating to the ‘‘packaging, marking, branding, and labeling and size and fill’’ of alcohol beverage containers ‘‘as will prohibit deception of the consumer with respect to such products or the quantity thereof . . . .’’ TTB administers the FAA Act pursuant to section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 31258 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury has delegated certain FAA Act administrative and enforcement authorities to TTB through Treasury Order 120–01, dated January 24, 2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120–01, dated January 24, 2003). Current Standards of Fill for Wine The standards of fill for wine are contained in subpart H of part 4 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4). The term ‘‘standard of fill’’ is used in the TTB regulations and in this document to refer to the authorized amount of liquid in the container, rather than the size or capacity of the container itself. For better readability, however, this document sometimes uses the terms ‘‘size’’ or ‘‘container size’’ and ‘‘standards of fill’’ interchangeably. Within subpart H, paragraph (a) of § 4.72 (27 CFR 4.72(a)) authorizes the use of the following metric standards of fill for containers other than those described in paragraph (b) of that section: • 3 liters; • 1.5 liters; • 1 liter; • 750 milliliters; • 500 milliliters; • 375 milliliters; • 187 milliliters; • 100 milliliters; and • 50 milliliters. Paragraph (b) of § 4.72 states that wine may be bottled or packed in containers of 4 liters or larger if the containers are filled and labeled in quantities of even liters (4 liters, 5 liters, 6 liters, etc.). khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Current Headspace Requirements for Wine Requirements for headspace, the empty space between the top of the wine and the top of the container, are also contained in subpart H of 27 CFR part 4. Within subpart H, paragraph (a)(3) of § 4.71 (27 CFR 4.71(a)(3)) states that a standard wine container must be made and filled so as to have a headspace not in excess of 6 percent of the total capacity of the container after closure if the net content of the container is 187 milliliters or more and, in the case of all other wine containers, a headspace not in excess of 10 percent of such capacity. Current Standards of Fill for Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages The standards of fill for distilled spirits are contained in subpart E of part 5 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 5). In a separate notice of proposed rulemaking published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, TTB is VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 also proposing to eliminate most of the standards of fill for distilled spirits. Unlike wine and distilled spirits, there are no standards of fill prescribed for malt beverages under the FAA Act. However, in the case of malt beverages, § 7.22(a)(4) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 7.22(a)(4)) requires the display of net contents on the brand label as mandatory label information. History of Standards of Fill for Wine Standards of fill for wine were first established in October 1941 by T.D. 5093 (6 FR 5465, October 25, 1941), which became effective in October 1943. Those standards were as follows: • 4.9 gallons; • 3 gallons; • 1 gallon; • 1⁄2 gallon; • 1 quart; • 4⁄5 quart; • 4⁄5 pint; • 2⁄5 pint; • ounces; • 3 ounces; and • 2 ounces. Over the years, a number of changes were made to these standards. The most significant change took place in 1974 when TTB’s predecessor agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), adopted metric standards of fill for wine containers. These metric standards were adopted in T.D. ATF–12 (39 FR 45216, December 31, 1974). ATF provided a phase-in period for the new metric sizes that lasted until January 1, 1979, at which time metric sizes became mandatory. The metric standards of fill originally adopted for wine were as follows: • 3 liters; • 1.5 liters; • 1 liter; • 750 milliliters; • 375 milliliters; • 187 milliliters; and • 100 milliliters. Later amendments to the metric standards for wine containers included: • T.D. ATF–49 (43 FR 19846, May 9, 1978), which allowed whole liter sizes larger than 3 liters; • T.D. ATF–76 (46 FR 1725, January 7, 1981), which added the 50- milliliter miniature size; and • T.D. ATF–303 (55 FR 42710, October 23, 1990), which allowed the 500-milliliter size in interstate commerce. Prior to the Treasury decision, it could only be used for intrastate commerce or export. Prior Notices Seeking Comments on Changes to Standards In addition to the rulemakings cited above that adopted or amended PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 standards of fill for wine, ATF twice solicited comments on whether the standards of fill should be retained, revised, or eliminated. In 1987, ATF published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), Notice No. 633 (52 FR 23685, June 24, 1987), which solicited comments on whether the standards of fill requirements for distilled spirits and wine should be retained either in general or as metric standards. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) had petitioned ATF to amend the regulations to allow for the importation of distilled spirits not bottled in authorized metric standards of fill if the bottles were labeled with certain additional information. In its petition, the WSLCB stated that many foreign manufacturers bottle their spirits in standards of fill that are not authorized in the United States (for example, 740 milliliters and 800 milliliters). Consequently, while these products could be shipped to other countries, they could not be imported into the United States. The WSLCB argued that the existing standards of fill stifled price competition on imported distilled spirits, resulting in an artificial price increase for U.S. consumers. Although the petition requested an amendment of the standards of fill requirements for distilled spirits only, the ANPRM requested comments on retaining or eliminating the standards of fill for distilled spirits and wine. On February 6, 1990, ATF published Notice No. 696 (55 FR 3980) and stated that it found no basis to eliminate the existing standards of fill for wine and distilled spirits. In 1993, ATF published another ANPRM, Notice No. 773 (58 FR 35908, July 2, 1993), in response to three petitions requesting the reinstatement or addition of four sizes to the standards of fill for distilled spirits. The petitioners requested that the regulations be amended to include four sizes used in other countries: A 296-milliliter can, a 500-milliliter bottle, a 680-milliliter bottle, and a 946-milliliter bottle. The petitioners also made many of the same arguments for retaining the existing standards that were noted in Notice No. 696. Although these petitions only involved an amendment to the existing standards for distilled spirits, ATF believed it was also appropriate to address the larger issue of retaining or eliminating the standards of fill requirements for distilled spirits and wine. A common theme in the three petitions was that the current standards of fill were hindering international trade between the United States and countries with different standard container sizes. E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS As a result, ATF sought comment in Notice No. 773 on whether the existing standards of fill should be revised, retained, or eliminated. ATF did not undertake further rulemaking on this issue. Petitions and Inquiries Regarding Changes to Standards In the past several years, TTB has received a number of petitions and inquiries regarding changes to the standards of fill requirements for wine. Several of these petitions and inquiries were from producers, bottlers, and importers interested in distributing wine in cans. Generally speaking, these industry members assert that the standards of fill they propose (200, 250, and 355-milliliters) are standard can sizes prevalent in the United States and would therefore be more cost efficient for them to use than the sizes currently authorized in § 4.72. These petitions and inquiries addressing can sizes include the following: 1. A U.S. wine bottler submitted a petition requesting that § 4.72 be revised to allow wine to be packaged in 200milliliter cans. The bottler stated that 200-milliters is a standard can size, while the 187-milliter size authorized in § 4.72 is difficult to obtain. 2. A California winery that packages its wine in 187-milliliter cans also petitioned for the addition of the 200milliliters size to § 4.72 for metal containers having the general shape and size of a can. The petitioner stated that it must have its 187-milliliter cans custom manufactured, which is costly and inefficient. Additionally, the petitioner noted that 200-milliliters is listed in 27 CFR 5.47a as an approved standard of fill for distilled spirits packaged in metal containers. According to the petitioner, approving that size for wine would bring the wine standards of fill in line with can industry standards and the standards of fill for distilled spirits and nonalcoholic beverages. 3. An Argentine winery petitioned for the addition of 355-milliter and 250milliliter sizes to § 4.72. The winery packages its products in 12-ounce (355milliliter) and 8.4-ounce (250-milliliter) aluminum cans, but is unable to sell its product in the U.S. marketplace since these sizes are not authorized in § 4.72. 4. An importer of Australian wine inquired about selling 250-milliliter cans of wine to concert and sporting arenas, but was unable to do so since 250- milliliter is not an authorized standard of fill as prescribed in § 4.72. 5. A U.S. producer of wine and distilled spirits filed a petition requesting that TTB authorize a 355- VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 milliliter standard of fill, or 12 ounces, for wine sold in cans. Currently, the petitioner sells wine packed in a 12 ounce cans only in Puerto Rico, and would like to use the same size cans for wine sold in the rest of the United States. 6. A Colorado-based winery that packages its wine in cans petitioned TTB to approve 250-milliliters as an authorized standard of fill. The petition noted that the 250-milliliter size has become standard in the U.S. for various beverages, including wines that contain less than 7 percent alcohol by volume and are thus not regulated under the FAA Act. It argues that this creates an unfair playing field for many wineries and that the current rules restrict sales, growth, and job creation. In addition to the petitions discussed above that addressed the packaging of wine in cans, TTB also received a petition from an importer of boxed wine requesting that the agency authorize a standard of fill of 2.25 liters for wine containers. The importer states that such a container would significantly reduce environmental impact because it holds as much as three 750-milliliter wine bottles at half the weight of such bottles. Additionally, TTB has received several inquiries over the years regarding the importation of the French product known as ‘‘vin jaune’’ (‘‘yellow wine’’ in English). Vin jaune is made in the Jura region of France, using a technique similar to that used for making Sherry. In accordance with French and European Union regulations, it must be sold in a 620milliliter bottle. Since 620-milliters is not an authorized size in § 4.72, vin jaune cannot be imported into the United States. Finally, foreign governments have contacted TTB regarding the wine standards of fill regulations. Among these was a 2007 request from the Government of Moldova asking that TTB waive the standards of fill requirements for importations of Moldovan wine. At the time, Moldova reported that it had over a million bottles of aged wine in its National Treasury of Wine that could not be sold in the United States due to the U.S. bottle size limitations. Also in 2007, the Government of Georgia requested that TTB add the 700-milliliter bottle to the authorized standards of fill. It stated that the 700-milliliter bottle was a standard size in the former Soviet Union, and the addition of the 700milliliter standard of fill in the TTB regulations would eliminate a restriction on the sale of Georgian wines in the United States. PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31259 Petition Regarding Bottle Headspace TTB has also received a petition from a company that imports individually sealed glasses of wine from France and markets them in North America. These individually sealed 100 milliliter size glasses of wine were designed to enable consumers to drink a glass of wine without having to open a full bottle. However, the product must comply with 27 CFR 4.71(a)(3), which requires a headspace not in excess of 10 percent for containers smaller than 187 milliliters. The petitioner stated that these containers require more than the maximum 10 percent headspace allowance for the following reasons: • A minimum of 25 to 30 percent headspace is required to keep wine away from the edge of the glass during the manufacturing process, thus ensuring the glass container is sealed correctly. • If the headspace were the required 10 percent, consumers would likely spill the contents when peeling off the aluminum foil due to the strength of the seal. The petitioner also noted in support of its petition that, since the glass container will be clear, the purchaser will clearly see the actual content and the actual net content will be clearly identified on the label. TTB Proposal In view of the points made in the petitions and inquiries discussed above, TTB believes that it is appropriate to revisit the wine standards of fill issue. TTB is proposing to eliminate the existing standards of fill for wine, except that the regulations would maintain a minimum standard of 50 milliliters. The minimum container size is needed to ensure sufficient space on the container for required labeling. TTB also welcomes comments on merely adding some or all of the standards of fill requested in the petitions, or adding some or all of those standards and also adopting an expedited approach for adding new sizes in the future. TTB is considering eliminating the standards of fill for the following reasons: 1. Executive Order 13771, titled ‘‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,’’ and Executive Order 13777, titled ‘‘Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,’’ task Federal agencies with identifying and eliminating regulations to reduce regulatory burdens and costs for industry. TTB believes that this proposal is aligned with these Executive Orders as explained below. 2. Elimination of the existing standards of fill would address the recent petitions on this issue, would E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 31260 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS eliminate the need for industry members to petition for additional authorizations if marketplace conditions favor different standards in the future, and would eliminate requirements that restrict competition and the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce. 3. It would address concerns that the current standards of fill unnecessarily limit manufacturing options and consumer purchasing options, particularly where consumers may seek smaller containers to target a specific amount of consumption. 4. TTB believes that current and proposed labeling requirements regarding net contents (see 27 CFR 4.32(b)(2) and 4.37) and those regarding the design and fill of containers (see 27 CFR 4.71) provide consumers with adequate information about container contents. TTB is not aware of consumer deception issues related to container sizes of malt beverages, for which there is no standard of fill requirement. In addition to eliminating the current standards of fill for wine containers, TTB proposes to amend the current headspace requirements for wine in 27 CFR 4.71(a)(3). Specifically, TTB is proposing to allow wine bottled in a clear, 100milliliter or smaller container to contain a headspace of not more than 30 percent of the total capacity of the container. The proposed revision would allow more wine products to be bottled in individually sealed glasses such as those described above. This would be permitted only for wine bottled in a clear container so that the consumer would be able to see the actual contents of the container, thus reducing the possibility of consumer deception. Discussion of the Proposed Changes Regarding the specific regulatory amendments proposed in this document, TTB notes the following: • In § 4.32, which concerns mandatory label information for wine, paragraph (b)(2) is amended by removing the second sentence, which would no longer be relevant if the referenced standards of fill are removed. • In § 4.37, which concerns net contents, the introductory text of paragraph (a) is revised to remove the several references to ‘‘standard of fill’’ and to replace the words ‘‘prescribed in § 4.72’’ with a reference to § 4.71, which is revised as discussed below. In addition, the introductory text of paragraph (b) is revised, and current paragraph (b)(1) is removed and paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) are redesignated as (b)(1) and (2) VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 respectively, to reflect the removal of the standards of fill. • Section 4.70, which concerns the application of standard wine container requirements (i.e., design, fill, and headspace) and the standards of fill requirements, is amended by removing references to § 4.72. • Section 4.71, which concerns standard wine containers, is revised to remove a reference to § 4.72, to include tolerances (discrepancies between actual and stated fill), in the paragraph concerning fill, to require a minimum fill of 50 milliliters, and to add the 30 percent headspace allowance for 100milliliter or smaller containers as discussed above. • Finally, § 4.72, which specifies the metric standards of fill for wine, is removed because it would no longer serve any purpose. Alternatives to the Proposal TTB is also considering maintaining the standards of fill but liberalizing the existing regulatory scheme. It simply could add some or all of the petitionedfor standards (200, 250, 355, 620, and 700 milliliters and 2.25 liters) to § 4.72(a). It also could institute an expedited process for considering future petitions to add additional standards of fill and help ensure § 4.72 is nondiscriminatory and does not create unnecessary obstacles to competition, trade, or investment. For example, TTB could amend its regulations in § 4.72 to provide for administrative approvals of standards of fill. Under such an expedited system, the Administrator could authorize new standards of fill in response to a petition if the petition shows good cause for approval (such as commercial viability), barring the Administrator determining that the proposed standard would cause confusion. Administratively approved standards of fill then would be published on the TTB website so that other industry members are aware of the additional authorized sizes. Public Participation Comments Sought TTB requests comments on the proposals to eliminate the standards of fill for wine (with the exception of a minimum 50-milliliter specification) and to add a new headspace specification for wine bottled in a clear, 100-milliliter or smaller container. TTB also requests comments on alternative approaches, such as maintaining the standards of fill but adding some or all of the petitioned-for standards (200, 250, 355, 620, 700 milliliters and 2.25 liters) to § 4.72(a)—including comments PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 on the alternative of developing an expedited process for adding new standards of fill in the future and the criteria for approval of specific standards under an expedited process. Additionally, TTB understands that some state regulations on standards of fill for wine may incorporate TTB regulations by reference. TTB requests comments from state regulators on whether this proposal will present a regulatory issue at the state level. TTB invites any other suggestions or alternatives related to the issue of standards of fill, including headspace requirements, for wine. Given the absence of standards of fill for malt beverages, TTB would be particularly interested in comments that address the merits of continuing to apply different rules to wine and spirits. Any person submitting comments may present such data, views, or arguments as he or she desires. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views or suggestions presented will be particularly helpful in developing a reasoned regulatory decision on this matter. Submitting Comments You may submit comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking by one of the following three methods: • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the online comment form posted with this proposed rule within Docket No. TTB– 2019–0004 on ‘‘Regulations.gov,’’ the Federal e-rulemaking portal, at https:// www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is available under Notice No. 182 on the TTB website at https:// www.ttb.gov/wine/winerulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be attached to comments submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete instructions on how to use Regulations.gov, click on the site’s ‘‘Help’’ tab. • U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005. • Hand Delivery/Courier: You may hand-carry your comments or have them hand-carried to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Suite 400E, Washington, DC 20005. Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this proposed rule. Your comments must reference Notice No. 182 and include your name and mailing address. Your comments also must be made in English, be legible, and be written in E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules language acceptable for public disclosure. TTB does not acknowledge receipt of comments, and considers all comments as originals. In your comment, please clearly state if you are commenting for yourself or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If you are commenting on behalf of an entity, your comment must include the entity’s name as well as your name and position title. In your comment via Regulations.gov, please enter the entity’s name in the ‘‘Organization’’ blank of the online comment form. If you comment via postal mail or hand delivery/courier, please submit your entity’s comment on letterhead. You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right to determine whether to hold a public hearing. Confidentiality All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Public Disclosure TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this proposed rule and any online or mailed comments received about this proposal within Docket No. TTB–2019–0004 on the Federal erulemaking portal. A direct link to that docket is available on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/winerulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 182. You may also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page at https://www.regulations.gov. For information on how to use Regulations.gov, click on the site’s ‘‘Help’’ tab. All posted comments will display the commenter’s name, organization (if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous attachments or material that it considers unsuitable for posting. You may view copies of this proposed rule and any electronic or mailed comments TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. You may also obtain copies for 20 cents per VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 8.5 x 11-inch page. Contact TTB’s Regulations.gov administrator at the above address or by telephone at 202– 453–2135 to schedule an appointment or to request copies of comments or other materials. Regulatory Analysis and Notices Analysis of Impacts The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Office of Management and Budget, has waived review of this proposed rule in accordance with section 6(a)(3)(A) of Executive Order 12866. OIRA will subsequently make a significance determination of the final rule, pursuant to section 3(f) of Executive Order (E.O.) 12866. The impacts of this proposed rule have been examined in accordance with Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601–612), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4). This rule is anticipated to be designated under Executive Order 13771 as a deregulatory action. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to analyze regulatory options that would minimize any significant impact of a rule on small entities. Because this proposed rule would increase regulatory flexibility by expanding the options available to small entities, we propose to certify that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of costs and benefits before proposing a rule with mandates that ‘‘may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year.’’ This proposed rule would impose no new mandates. Purpose of the Rule Several regulatory requirements are intended to decrease the risk that consumers will misjudge the quantities of wine in containers available for sale. These include: • A requirement that quantities of wine conform to values on a list of standard quantities, with each of the standard quantities separated by at least 50 milliliters (27 CFR 4.71(a)(2)); and PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31261 • A limitation on the amount of unfilled headspace at the top of the container (27 CFR 4.71(a)(3)). The standard quantities are called ‘‘standards of fill.’’ A requirement that, with few exceptions, a quantity available for sale match a standard of fill may decrease the risk of consumer confusion, but, under some circumstances, the limitation also decreases economic efficiency by preventing production at the lowest possible cost. Limiting the amount of headspace in containers may decrease the risk of consumer confusion, but, under some circumstances, that limitation may decrease economic efficiency by preventing desirable products from entering the market. This proposed rule would eliminate the requirement that quantities correspond to standards of fill, allowing wine to be sold in any quantity of 50 milliliters or more. The proposed rule would also increase permitted headspace for individually sealed glasses of wine in clear containers. These changes are expected to increase economic efficiency by allowing manufacturers to produce at lower costs and introduce products that would otherwise be prohibitively costly or explicitly forbidden. Background Businesses are categorized by type using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing wines and brandies are classified under NAICS code 312130. Establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of wine and distilled spirits are classified under NAICS code 424820. Establishments primarily engaged in retailing alcoholic beverages, including wine, are classified under NAICS code 445310. Total establishments, employees, and payroll for each category are reported by the Census Bureau in the County Business Patterns (CBP) data series. The most recent year for which CBP data were available at the time of this analysis was 2016. Total receipts for establishments in each category are reported by the Census Bureau in the Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) data series. The most recent year for which SUSB receipt data were available at the time of this analysis was 2012. Table 1 reports total establishments, employees, payroll, and receipts for each category. E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 31262 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—INDUSTRY INFORMATION NAICS Code Industry Wineries ......................................................................... Wholesalers specializing in wine and distilled spirits .... Retailers specializing in wine & other alcoholic beverages ......................................................................... Establishments Employees Payroll ($millions) Receipts ($millions) 312130 424820 3,604 2,599 51,107 87,026 2,520 6,462 15,525 76,170 445310 33,958 167,286 3,795 43,085 Sources: Establishment counts, employee counts, and payroll are from 2016 County Business Patterns data published by the Census Bureau. Receipts are from 2012 Statistics of U.S. Businesses data published by the Census Bureau. Although wine is typically sold in glass bottles, wine is also available in other types of containers, including aluminum cans. Sales of canned wine have grown rapidly in recent years, reaching $28 million in 2017, up from $14.5 million in 2016 and $6.4 million in 2015.1 However, canned wine still accounts for only about 0.2 percent of all wine sales.2 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Costs This proposed deregulation would, if implemented, impose no new mandates. However, the rule could create some costs for both consumers and producers. We are unable to quantify the costs, but welcome public comment with relevant information. Consumers who know that quantities conform to the standards of fill can misjudge a quantity only by mistaking one standard quantity for another. The difference between the smallest standard, 50 milliliters, and the next standard, 100 milliliters, is 50 milliliters, or 100 percent of the smaller standard. The absolute differences between adjacent standards are typically larger for larger quantities, and, for quantities below 3 liters, never fall below 33 percent of the smaller standard. Large differences between standards decrease the risk that one quantity on the list of standards will be mistaken for another. The rule would create costs for consumers if eliminating the standards of fill increased confusion about the quantities available for sale. However, confusion about quantities available for sale would continue to be limited by other regulations, including a requirement that net contents appear on a label affixed to the container (27 CFR 4.32(b)(2)), a prohibition against containers designed in such a way as to 1 Martha C. White, ‘‘Canned wine is the drink of summer 2017. Here are our top picks.’’ Money. June 14, 2017, available at http://time.com/money/ 4816413/canned-wine-can-juice-box-rose-sparkling/ . 2 Nielsen, ‘‘Heard it through the grapevine: Wine trends to watch for in 2018.’’ Jan. 16, 2018, available at http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/ news/2018/heard-it-through-the-grapevine-winetrends-to-watch-for-in-2018.html. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 mislead consumers about the quantities contained (27 CFR (a)(1)), and the limitation on headspace (27 CFR 4.71 (a)(3)). The limitation on headspace reduces the risk of consumer confusion by causing the quantity contained to correspond closely to the volume of the container. Headspace is limited to 6 percent of capacity after closure for containers with net contents of 187 milliliters or more and 10 percent for other containers. The proposed rule would, if implemented, allow headspace that does not exceed 30 percent for clear containers with net contents of 100 milliliters or less. Increasing the limit on headspace would create costs for consumers if it increased confusion about the quantities available for sale. However, the exception is limited to containers with contents clearly visible. Confusion about quantity contained would be less likely with clear containers than with opaque containers, because the quantity contained could be observed directly and consumers would be less likely to use container size as a proxy for quantity. Standards of fill also may have created secondary benefits that would be foregone with their elimination. For example, standard sizes may facilitate price comparison by consumers. When the net contents of bottles are equal, the relative prices of the bottles correspond to the relative prices per unit of wine they contain. When container sizes differ, the relative prices of bottles may differ from the relative prices per unit, so the elimination of fill standards could make the comparison of prices per unit more difficult. Price per unit labeling by retailers would decrease an impact of eliminating fill standards on the ease of comparison. Although price per unit labeling by retailers is common, it is not mandatory in most states, and, where it is mandatory, wine is typically excluded.3 4 3 National Institute of Standards and Technology, ‘‘Unit Pricing Guide: A Best Practice Approach to Unit Pricing.’’ NIST Special Publication 1181 (2015), available at https://www.nist.gov/sites/ PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The introduction of products that do not correspond to the standards of fill could also create some costs for wine manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Potential costs include those related to the renovation of production facilities, the distribution of containers that do not conform to current standards, and the reconfiguration of retail spaces. However, new products would only be introduced if profits from introducing them were, in expectation, positive. Therefore the expected value to consumers of the new products would generally exceed the expected cost of their production, including any costs created by deviation from the standards of fill, so that the benefits of introduction would be at least as large as the costs. Benefits This proposed deregulation could, if implemented, create a range of benefits. These include increasing economic efficiency by allowing producers to harness economies of scale, increasing the variety of products available to consumers, and increasing the competitiveness of the market for wine. We are unable to quantify the benefits, but we welcome public comment with relevant information. The market for canned wine has grown rapidly in recent years. However, according to petitions from industry, the most common sizes of aluminum cans, like 200 milliliters, differ from the standards of fill. Can makers must reconfigure equipment to change the size of the cans produced. This reconfiguration creates a fixed cost for each size produced. Producing more cans of a given size lowers the average cost per can because it spreads the fixed cost across a larger number of cans. The standard of fill closest to 200 milliliters is 187 milliliters. Petitions from industry default/files/documents/2017/04/28/SP1181-UnitPricing-Guide.pdf. 4 National Institute of Standards and Technology, ‘‘U.S. Retail Pricing Laws and Regulations by State.’’ available at https://www.nist.gov/pml/ weights-and-measures/us-retail-pricing-laws-andregulations-state. E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules indicate that the fixed costs associated with the production of 187 milliliter cans rather than 200 milliliter cans are substantial. Eliminating the standards of fill would allow wine makers to harness economies of scale and achieve lower costs by using the common 200 milliliter cans. In some other countries, wine is produced in standard quantities that do not match the standards of fill in the United States. Reconfiguring those wine production facilities to produce bottles specifically for the United States creates a fixed cost. If the cost of reconfiguration is sufficiently high, no bottles may be produced for the United States, despite positive demand for those products at prices that correspond to production at scale. Eliminating the standards of fill would allow more manufacturers producing primarily for foreign markets to sell their wines in the United States. The entry of those firms would increase competition in the wine market. More competitive markets allocate resources more efficiently by matching prices more closely to costs, so an increase in the competitiveness of the wine market would create economic benefits. The introduction of those products would also increase consumer choice by providing them with options they may prefer to those currently available. Wines made primarily for foreign markets may not be the only new products introduced. Wine makers currently producing for the United States could also choose to introduce products that deviate from the current standards of fill. Bottles that deviate from the current standards may allow consumers to more closely match the quantities they purchase to the quantities they desire to consume. Furthermore, some limited evidence suggests that consumers value novelty in bottle sizes, and novel bottle sizes may be of value to producers in differentiating their brands.5 6 Increasing the limitation on headspace for clear containers of 100 milliliters or less could also improve consumer welfare by increasing the options available. Comment from industry indicates that current headspace restrictions are problematic for individually sealed glasses of wine, since filling the glasses to the top 5 Henrich Brunke, Franziska Thiemann & Rolf Mueller, ‘‘Odd Prices for Odd Bottles at VDP Auctions.’’ Paper presented at Enometrics XVI conference of the Vineyard Data Quantification Society in Namur, Belgium (2009). 6 J. Franc ¸ois Outreville, ‘‘Does the Bottle Size Matter? An Investigation into Differences between Posted and Market Price.’’ American Association of Wine Economists Working Paper No. 86 (2011). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 creates difficulties for both manufacturing and consumption. Increasing the limitation on headspace could decrease manufacturing costs and improve consumer experiences with individually sealed glasses of wine. Alternatives The requirement that net contents conform to standards of fill reduces the risk of consumer confusion about quantity at the cost of restrictions on producers that decrease market efficiency. Consumer information about net contents is also a concern for other types of beverages, and the regulatory approaches taken for those beverages present some alternatives to the proposed deregulation. One alternative would be to add new standards of fill to the current list. For example, a 200 milliliter standard could be added to accommodate the use of aluminum cans. One problem with that approach is that the new standard would be only 13 milliliters above the current standard of 187 milliliters, a difference of slightly less than 7 percent of the smaller standard. Standards separated by such small amounts would be expected to do little to reduce consumer confusion. That problem could be addressed by providing separate lists of standards for cans and other containers, as have been provided for distilled spirits (27 CFR 5.47a), so that a significant difference between standards of fill was maintained for each category of container. However, the piecemeal addition of new standards as circumstances change involves costs that are avoided by eliminating the standards of fill entirely. The addition of new standards through rulemaking would continue to involve the burden on industry of petitioning for new standards and awaiting the outcomes and the burden on the government of responding to the petitions and promulgating new rules. Standards of fill are not the only tool available for reducing the risk of consumer confusion about quantities available for sale. The appearance of net contents on the label is another tool, and more prominent net contents labeling may achieve the same reduction in the risk of confusion without incurring the costs associated with the standards of fill. Currently, wine must generally conform to standards of fill, and net contents can appear on any label affixed to the container. Malt beverages need not conform to standards of fill, but net contents must generally appear on the brand label (27 CFR 7.22). Similarly, beverages like carbonated soft drinks need not conform to standards of fill, PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 31263 but net quantity of contents must appear on the principal display panel (21 CFR 101.7). A second alternative to this proposed rule would be to eliminate the standards of fill but require that net contents appear on the brand label, analogous to the requirements for malt beverages and soft drinks. However, the requirement that net contents appear on the brand label would constitute a new mandate on wine makers. Changing labels would involve administrative costs as well as the costs of redesigning labels and replacing printing equipment like engraving plates or cylinders. The proposed rule avoids those costs by avoiding changes to the labeling requirements. In addition, introducing a new requirement to include net contents on the brand label could potentially lead to a conflict with the World Wine Trade Group Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling (‘‘WWTG Labelling Agreement’’), which provides that certain common wine mandatory labeling information (country of origin, product name, net contents and alcohol content) be permitted to appear in any ‘‘single field of vision.’’ The WWTG Labelling Agreement sought to reduce regulatory burden on businesses in countries that are parties to the Agreement. Currently, some wine products are not subject to the requirement that net contents conform to a standard of fill (27 CFR 4.70). However, when net contents do not conform to a standard of fill, net contents must appear on a label affixed to the front of the bottle (27 CFR 4.32(b)(2)). A third alternative is to eliminate the requirement that net contents conform to a standard of fill, but keep the standards of fill and keep the requirement that net contents be stated on a label affixed to the front of the bottle when the net contents do not conform to a standard of fill. This alternative would impose no new mandate, although it would create some costs not created by the proposed rule. This alternative could also incur problems similar to the alternative above with regard to potentially conflicting with the WWTG Labelling Agreement. Additionally, some foreign producers that do not conform to the standards of fill may need to change their labeling to satisfy the labeling requirement for the U.S. market. However, wine makers would only be expected to undertake those changes if doing so maximized profits. Therefore changes to labeling would only be expected if making them were less costly than conforming to the standards of fill. Furthermore, making such changes would only maximize E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1 31264 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 126 / Monday, July 1, 2019 / Proposed Rules profits if, in expectation, the value to consumers exceeded the cost of production, including the cost of any labeling changes. We welcome comment on these and other alternatives, including information that will aid us in quantifying their costs and benefits. Paperwork Reduction Act The collection of information in this rule has been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the title ‘‘Labeling and Advertising Requirements Under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act,’’ and assigned control number 1513– 0087. This proposed regulation would not result in a substantive or material change in the previously approved collection action, since the nature of the mandatory information that must appear on labels affixed to the container remains unchanged. Drafting Information Jennifer Berry of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this document, along with other Department of the Treasury personnel. List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 4 Advertising, Consumer protection, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Labeling, Packaging and containers. Amendment to the Regulations For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes to amend 27 CFR part 4 as follows: PART 4—LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF WINE 1. The authority citation for part 4 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 27 U.S.C. 205, unless otherwise noted. § 4.32 [Amended] 2. In § 4.32(b)(2), the second sentence is removed. ■ 3. In § 4.37: ■ a. Paragraph (a) introductory text is revised; ■ b. Paragraph (b) subject heading and introductory text are revised; ■ c. Paragraph (b)(1) is removed; and ■ d. Paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) are redesignated as paragraphs (b)(1) and (2), respectively. The revisions read as follows: khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS ■ § 4.37 Net contents. (a) Statement of net contents. The net contents of wine shall be stated in the metric system of measure in accordance with § 4.71 and as follows: * * * * * VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jun 28, 2019 Jkt 247001 (b) Optional statement of U.S. equivalent contents. Net contents in U.S. equivalents may appear on the label together with the required metric net contents statement if shown as follows: * * * * * § 4.70 [Amended] 4. Amend § 4.70 by: a. In paragraph (a), the words ‘‘herein prescribed’’ are removed and the phrase ‘‘as prescribed in § 4.71’’ is added in its place; ■ b. In paragraph (b) introductory text, the phrase ‘‘Sections 4.71 and 4.72 of this part do’’ is removed and the phrase ‘‘Section 4.71 of this part does’’ is added in its place; and ■ c. In paragraph (c), the phrase ‘‘Section 4.72’’ is removed and the phrase ‘‘Section 4.71.’’ is added in its place. ■ 5. Section 4.71 is revised to read as follows: ■ ■ § 4.71 Standard wine containers. (a) A standard wine container must be made, formed, and filled to meet the following specifications: (1) Design. It must be so made and formed as not to mislead the purchaser. Wine containers must (irrespective of the correctness of the net contents specified on the label) be so made and formed as not to mislead the purchaser if the actual capacity is substantially less than the apparent capacity upon visual examination under ordinary conditions of purchase or use; (2) Fill and tolerances. It must be so filled as to reflect the quantity, including tolerances, specified for wine in the net contents provisions of § 4.37 but may not have a fill of less than 50 milliliters; and (3) Headspace. It must be designed and filled so that the headspace, or empty space between the top of the wine and the top of the container, meets the following specifications: (i) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section, if the net contents stated on the label are 187 milliliters or more, the headspace must not exceed 6 percent of the container’s total capacity after closure. (ii) In the case of all other containers, except as described in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section, the headspace must not exceed 10 percent of the container’s total capacity after closure. (iii) Exception. Wine bottled in clear containers, with the contents clearly visible, that are 100-milliliters or less may have a headspace that does not exceed 30 percent of the container’s total capacity after closure. (b) [Reserved] PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 4.72 [Removed and Reserved] 6. Section 4.72 is removed and reserved. ■ Signed: June 18, 2019. Mary G. Ryan, Acting Administrator. Approved: June 20, 2019. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy. [FR Doc. 2019–13768 Filed 6–28–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–31–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 27 CFR Parts 5, 7, 26, and 27 [Docket No. TTB–2019–0005; Notice No. 183] RIN 1513–AC45 Elimination of Certain Standards of Fill for Distilled Spirits; Amendment of Malt Beverage Net Contents Labeling Regulation Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: In this document, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) addresses numerous petitions requesting that TTB amend the regulations that govern distilled spirits containers to provide for additional authorized standards of fill. TTB is proposing to eliminate all but minimum and maximum standards of fill for distilled spirits containers and thus eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements and provide consumers broader purchasing options. TTB welcomes comments on this proposed deregulation, and it also seeks comments on the relative merits of alternatives, such as adding new authorized standards of fill and developing an expedited process for adding additional standards in the future. All of these approaches would eliminate restrictions that inhibit competition and the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce. TTB is also proposing to amend the labeling regulations for distilled spirits and malt beverages to specifically provide that distilled spirits may be labeled with the equivalent standard United States (U.S.) measure in addition to the mandatory metric measure, and that malt beverages may be labeled with the equivalent metric measure in SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\01JYP1.SGM 01JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 126 (Monday, July 1, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 31257-31264]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-13768]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 4

[Docket No. TTB-2019-0004; Notice No. 182]
RIN 1513-AB56


Elimination of Certain Standards of Fill for Wine

AGENCY: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In this document, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau 
(TTB) addresses numerous petitions requesting that TTB amend the 
regulations that govern wine containers to provide for additional 
authorized standards of fill. TTB is proposing to eliminate all but a 
minimum standard of fill for wine containers and thus eliminate 
unnecessary regulatory requirements and provide consumers broader 
purchasing options. TTB welcomes comments on this proposed 
deregulation, and it also seeks comments on the relative merits of 
alternatives, such as adding new authorized standards of fill and 
developing an expedited process for adding additional standards in the 
future. All of these approaches would eliminate restrictions that 
inhibit competition and the movement of goods in domestic and 
international commerce.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 30, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Please send your comments on this proposed rule to one of 
the following addresses:
     Internet: https://www.regulations.gov (via the online 
comment form for this document as posted within Docket No. TTB-2019-
0004 at ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal);
     U.S. Mail: Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, 
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Box 12, 
Washington, DC 20005; or
     Hand delivery/courier in lieu of mail: Alcohol and Tobacco 
Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Suite 400E, Washington, DC 
20005.
    See the Public Participation section of this document for specific 
instructions and requirements for submitting comments, and for 
information on how to request a public hearing.
    You may view copies of this proposed rule and any comments TTB 
receives about this proposal at https://www.regulations.gov within 
Docket No. TTB-2019-0004. A link to that docket is posted on the TTB 
website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice 
No. 182. You also may view copies of this proposed rule and any 
comments TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the TTB 
Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. 
Please call 202-453-2135 to make an appointment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Berry, Alcohol and Tobacco 
Tax and Trade Bureau, Regulations and Rulings Division; telephone 202-
453-1039, ext. 275.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

TTB Authority

    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers 
regulations setting forth bottle size and related standards of fill for 
containers of wine products distributed within the United States. The 
authority to establish these standards is based on section 105(e) of 
the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), codified at 27 U.S.C. 
205(e), which authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe 
regulations relating to the ``packaging, marking, branding, and 
labeling and size and fill'' of alcohol beverage containers ``as will 
prohibit deception of the consumer with respect to such products or the 
quantity thereof . . . .'' TTB administers the FAA Act pursuant to 
section 1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, as

[[Page 31258]]

codified at 6 U.S.C. 531(d). In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury 
has delegated certain FAA Act administrative and enforcement 
authorities to TTB through Treasury Order 120-01, dated January 24, 
2013 (superseding Treasury Order 120-01, dated January 24, 2003).

Current Standards of Fill for Wine

    The standards of fill for wine are contained in subpart H of part 4 
of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 4). The term ``standard of fill'' 
is used in the TTB regulations and in this document to refer to the 
authorized amount of liquid in the container, rather than the size or 
capacity of the container itself. For better readability, however, this 
document sometimes uses the terms ``size'' or ``container size'' and 
``standards of fill'' interchangeably. Within subpart H, paragraph (a) 
of Sec.  4.72 (27 CFR 4.72(a)) authorizes the use of the following 
metric standards of fill for containers other than those described in 
paragraph (b) of that section:
     3 liters;
     1.5 liters;
     1 liter;
     750 milliliters;
     500 milliliters;
     375 milliliters;
     187 milliliters;
     100 milliliters; and
     50 milliliters.
    Paragraph (b) of Sec.  4.72 states that wine may be bottled or 
packed in containers of 4 liters or larger if the containers are filled 
and labeled in quantities of even liters (4 liters, 5 liters, 6 liters, 
etc.).

Current Headspace Requirements for Wine

    Requirements for headspace, the empty space between the top of the 
wine and the top of the container, are also contained in subpart H of 
27 CFR part 4. Within subpart H, paragraph (a)(3) of Sec.  4.71 (27 CFR 
4.71(a)(3)) states that a standard wine container must be made and 
filled so as to have a headspace not in excess of 6 percent of the 
total capacity of the container after closure if the net content of the 
container is 187 milliliters or more and, in the case of all other wine 
containers, a headspace not in excess of 10 percent of such capacity.

Current Standards of Fill for Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages

    The standards of fill for distilled spirits are contained in 
subpart E of part 5 of the TTB regulations (27 CFR part 5). In a 
separate notice of proposed rulemaking published elsewhere in this 
issue of the Federal Register, TTB is also proposing to eliminate most 
of the standards of fill for distilled spirits.
    Unlike wine and distilled spirits, there are no standards of fill 
prescribed for malt beverages under the FAA Act. However, in the case 
of malt beverages, Sec.  7.22(a)(4) of the TTB regulations (27 CFR 
7.22(a)(4)) requires the display of net contents on the brand label as 
mandatory label information.

History of Standards of Fill for Wine

    Standards of fill for wine were first established in October 1941 
by T.D. 5093 (6 FR 5465, October 25, 1941), which became effective in 
October 1943. Those standards were as follows:
     4.9 gallons;
     3 gallons;
     1 gallon;
     \1/2\ gallon;
     1 quart;
     \4/5\ quart;
     \4/5\ pint;
     \2/5\ pint;
     ounces;
     3 ounces; and
     2 ounces.
    Over the years, a number of changes were made to these standards. 
The most significant change took place in 1974 when TTB's predecessor 
agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), adopted 
metric standards of fill for wine containers. These metric standards 
were adopted in T.D. ATF-12 (39 FR 45216, December 31, 1974). ATF 
provided a phase-in period for the new metric sizes that lasted until 
January 1, 1979, at which time metric sizes became mandatory. The 
metric standards of fill originally adopted for wine were as follows:
     3 liters;
     1.5 liters;
     1 liter;
     750 milliliters;
     375 milliliters;
     187 milliliters; and
     100 milliliters.
    Later amendments to the metric standards for wine containers 
included:
     T.D. ATF-49 (43 FR 19846, May 9, 1978), which allowed 
whole liter sizes larger than 3 liters;
     T.D. ATF-76 (46 FR 1725, January 7, 1981), which added the 
50- milliliter miniature size; and
     T.D. ATF-303 (55 FR 42710, October 23, 1990), which 
allowed the 500-milliliter size in interstate commerce. Prior to the 
Treasury decision, it could only be used for intrastate commerce or 
export.

Prior Notices Seeking Comments on Changes to Standards

    In addition to the rulemakings cited above that adopted or amended 
standards of fill for wine, ATF twice solicited comments on whether the 
standards of fill should be retained, revised, or eliminated.
    In 1987, ATF published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
(ANPRM), Notice No. 633 (52 FR 23685, June 24, 1987), which solicited 
comments on whether the standards of fill requirements for distilled 
spirits and wine should be retained either in general or as metric 
standards. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) had 
petitioned ATF to amend the regulations to allow for the importation of 
distilled spirits not bottled in authorized metric standards of fill if 
the bottles were labeled with certain additional information.
    In its petition, the WSLCB stated that many foreign manufacturers 
bottle their spirits in standards of fill that are not authorized in 
the United States (for example, 740 milliliters and 800 milliliters). 
Consequently, while these products could be shipped to other countries, 
they could not be imported into the United States. The WSLCB argued 
that the existing standards of fill stifled price competition on 
imported distilled spirits, resulting in an artificial price increase 
for U.S. consumers. Although the petition requested an amendment of the 
standards of fill requirements for distilled spirits only, the ANPRM 
requested comments on retaining or eliminating the standards of fill 
for distilled spirits and wine. On February 6, 1990, ATF published 
Notice No. 696 (55 FR 3980) and stated that it found no basis to 
eliminate the existing standards of fill for wine and distilled 
spirits.
    In 1993, ATF published another ANPRM, Notice No. 773 (58 FR 35908, 
July 2, 1993), in response to three petitions requesting the 
reinstatement or addition of four sizes to the standards of fill for 
distilled spirits. The petitioners requested that the regulations be 
amended to include four sizes used in other countries: A 296-milliliter 
can, a 500-milliliter bottle, a 680-milliliter bottle, and a 946-
milliliter bottle. The petitioners also made many of the same arguments 
for retaining the existing standards that were noted in Notice No. 696. 
Although these petitions only involved an amendment to the existing 
standards for distilled spirits, ATF believed it was also appropriate 
to address the larger issue of retaining or eliminating the standards 
of fill requirements for distilled spirits and wine. A common theme in 
the three petitions was that the current standards of fill were 
hindering international trade between the United States and countries 
with different standard container sizes.

[[Page 31259]]

As a result, ATF sought comment in Notice No. 773 on whether the 
existing standards of fill should be revised, retained, or eliminated. 
ATF did not undertake further rulemaking on this issue.

Petitions and Inquiries Regarding Changes to Standards

    In the past several years, TTB has received a number of petitions 
and inquiries regarding changes to the standards of fill requirements 
for wine.
    Several of these petitions and inquiries were from producers, 
bottlers, and importers interested in distributing wine in cans. 
Generally speaking, these industry members assert that the standards of 
fill they propose (200, 250, and 355-milliliters) are standard can 
sizes prevalent in the United States and would therefore be more cost 
efficient for them to use than the sizes currently authorized in Sec.  
4.72. These petitions and inquiries addressing can sizes include the 
following:
    1. A U.S. wine bottler submitted a petition requesting that Sec.  
4.72 be revised to allow wine to be packaged in 200-milliliter cans. 
The bottler stated that 200-milliters is a standard can size, while the 
187-milliter size authorized in Sec.  4.72 is difficult to obtain.
    2. A California winery that packages its wine in 187-milliliter 
cans also petitioned for the addition of the 200-milliliters size to 
Sec.  4.72 for metal containers having the general shape and size of a 
can. The petitioner stated that it must have its 187-milliliter cans 
custom manufactured, which is costly and inefficient. Additionally, the 
petitioner noted that 200-milliliters is listed in 27 CFR 5.47a as an 
approved standard of fill for distilled spirits packaged in metal 
containers. According to the petitioner, approving that size for wine 
would bring the wine standards of fill in line with can industry 
standards and the standards of fill for distilled spirits and non-
alcoholic beverages.
    3. An Argentine winery petitioned for the addition of 355-milliter 
and 250- milliliter sizes to Sec.  4.72. The winery packages its 
products in 12-ounce (355- milliliter) and 8.4-ounce (250-milliliter) 
aluminum cans, but is unable to sell its product in the U.S. 
marketplace since these sizes are not authorized in Sec.  4.72.
    4. An importer of Australian wine inquired about selling 250-
milliliter cans of wine to concert and sporting arenas, but was unable 
to do so since 250- milliliter is not an authorized standard of fill as 
prescribed in Sec.  4.72.
    5. A U.S. producer of wine and distilled spirits filed a petition 
requesting that TTB authorize a 355-milliliter standard of fill, or 12 
ounces, for wine sold in cans. Currently, the petitioner sells wine 
packed in a 12 ounce cans only in Puerto Rico, and would like to use 
the same size cans for wine sold in the rest of the United States.
    6. A Colorado-based winery that packages its wine in cans 
petitioned TTB to approve 250-milliliters as an authorized standard of 
fill. The petition noted that the 250-milliliter size has become 
standard in the U.S. for various beverages, including wines that 
contain less than 7 percent alcohol by volume and are thus not 
regulated under the FAA Act. It argues that this creates an unfair 
playing field for many wineries and that the current rules restrict 
sales, growth, and job creation.
    In addition to the petitions discussed above that addressed the 
packaging of wine in cans, TTB also received a petition from an 
importer of boxed wine requesting that the agency authorize a standard 
of fill of 2.25 liters for wine containers. The importer states that 
such a container would significantly reduce environmental impact 
because it holds as much as three 750-milliliter wine bottles at half 
the weight of such bottles.
    Additionally, TTB has received several inquiries over the years 
regarding the importation of the French product known as ``vin jaune'' 
(``yellow wine'' in English). Vin jaune is made in the Jura region of 
France, using a technique similar to that used for making Sherry. In 
accordance with French and European Union regulations, it must be sold 
in a 620-milliliter bottle. Since 620-milliters is not an authorized 
size in Sec.  4.72, vin jaune cannot be imported into the United 
States.
    Finally, foreign governments have contacted TTB regarding the wine 
standards of fill regulations. Among these was a 2007 request from the 
Government of Moldova asking that TTB waive the standards of fill 
requirements for importations of Moldovan wine. At the time, Moldova 
reported that it had over a million bottles of aged wine in its 
National Treasury of Wine that could not be sold in the United States 
due to the U.S. bottle size limitations. Also in 2007, the Government 
of Georgia requested that TTB add the 700-milliliter bottle to the 
authorized standards of fill. It stated that the 700-milliliter bottle 
was a standard size in the former Soviet Union, and the addition of the 
700-milliliter standard of fill in the TTB regulations would eliminate 
a restriction on the sale of Georgian wines in the United States.

Petition Regarding Bottle Headspace

    TTB has also received a petition from a company that imports 
individually sealed glasses of wine from France and markets them in 
North America. These individually sealed 100 milliliter size glasses of 
wine were designed to enable consumers to drink a glass of wine without 
having to open a full bottle. However, the product must comply with 27 
CFR 4.71(a)(3), which requires a headspace not in excess of 10 percent 
for containers smaller than 187 milliliters. The petitioner stated that 
these containers require more than the maximum 10 percent headspace 
allowance for the following reasons:
     A minimum of 25 to 30 percent headspace is required to 
keep wine away from the edge of the glass during the manufacturing 
process, thus ensuring the glass container is sealed correctly.
     If the headspace were the required 10 percent, consumers 
would likely spill the contents when peeling off the aluminum foil due 
to the strength of the seal.
    The petitioner also noted in support of its petition that, since 
the glass container will be clear, the purchaser will clearly see the 
actual content and the actual net content will be clearly identified on 
the label.

TTB Proposal

    In view of the points made in the petitions and inquiries discussed 
above, TTB believes that it is appropriate to revisit the wine 
standards of fill issue. TTB is proposing to eliminate the existing 
standards of fill for wine, except that the regulations would maintain 
a minimum standard of 50 milliliters. The minimum container size is 
needed to ensure sufficient space on the container for required 
labeling. TTB also welcomes comments on merely adding some or all of 
the standards of fill requested in the petitions, or adding some or all 
of those standards and also adopting an expedited approach for adding 
new sizes in the future. TTB is considering eliminating the standards 
of fill for the following reasons:
    1. Executive Order 13771, titled ``Reducing Regulation and 
Controlling Regulatory Costs,'' and Executive Order 13777, titled 
``Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,'' task Federal agencies with 
identifying and eliminating regulations to reduce regulatory burdens 
and costs for industry. TTB believes that this proposal is aligned with 
these Executive Orders as explained below.
    2. Elimination of the existing standards of fill would address the 
recent petitions on this issue, would

[[Page 31260]]

eliminate the need for industry members to petition for additional 
authorizations if marketplace conditions favor different standards in 
the future, and would eliminate requirements that restrict competition 
and the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce.
    3. It would address concerns that the current standards of fill 
unnecessarily limit manufacturing options and consumer purchasing 
options, particularly where consumers may seek smaller containers to 
target a specific amount of consumption.
    4. TTB believes that current and proposed labeling requirements 
regarding net contents (see 27 CFR 4.32(b)(2) and 4.37) and those 
regarding the design and fill of containers (see 27 CFR 4.71) provide 
consumers with adequate information about container contents.
    TTB is not aware of consumer deception issues related to container 
sizes of malt beverages, for which there is no standard of fill 
requirement. In addition to eliminating the current standards of fill 
for wine containers, TTB proposes to amend the current headspace 
requirements for wine in 27 CFR 4.71(a)(3).
    Specifically, TTB is proposing to allow wine bottled in a clear, 
100-milliliter or smaller container to contain a headspace of not more 
than 30 percent of the total capacity of the container. The proposed 
revision would allow more wine products to be bottled in individually 
sealed glasses such as those described above. This would be permitted 
only for wine bottled in a clear container so that the consumer would 
be able to see the actual contents of the container, thus reducing the 
possibility of consumer deception.

Discussion of the Proposed Changes

    Regarding the specific regulatory amendments proposed in this 
document, TTB notes the following:
     In Sec.  4.32, which concerns mandatory label information 
for wine, paragraph (b)(2) is amended by removing the second sentence, 
which would no longer be relevant if the referenced standards of fill 
are removed.
     In Sec.  4.37, which concerns net contents, the 
introductory text of paragraph (a) is revised to remove the several 
references to ``standard of fill'' and to replace the words 
``prescribed in Sec.  4.72'' with a reference to Sec.  4.71, which is 
revised as discussed below. In addition, the introductory text of 
paragraph (b) is revised, and current paragraph (b)(1) is removed and 
paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) are redesignated as (b)(1) and (2) 
respectively, to reflect the removal of the standards of fill.
     Section 4.70, which concerns the application of standard 
wine container requirements (i.e., design, fill, and headspace) and the 
standards of fill requirements, is amended by removing references to 
Sec.  4.72.
     Section 4.71, which concerns standard wine containers, is 
revised to remove a reference to Sec.  4.72, to include tolerances 
(discrepancies between actual and stated fill), in the paragraph 
concerning fill, to require a minimum fill of 50 milliliters, and to 
add the 30 percent headspace allowance for 100-milliliter or smaller 
containers as discussed above.
     Finally, Sec.  4.72, which specifies the metric standards 
of fill for wine, is removed because it would no longer serve any 
purpose.

Alternatives to the Proposal

    TTB is also considering maintaining the standards of fill but 
liberalizing the existing regulatory scheme. It simply could add some 
or all of the petitioned-for standards (200, 250, 355, 620, and 700 
milliliters and 2.25 liters) to Sec.  4.72(a). It also could institute 
an expedited process for considering future petitions to add additional 
standards of fill and help ensure Sec.  4.72 is non-discriminatory and 
does not create unnecessary obstacles to competition, trade, or 
investment. For example, TTB could amend its regulations in Sec.  4.72 
to provide for administrative approvals of standards of fill. Under 
such an expedited system, the Administrator could authorize new 
standards of fill in response to a petition if the petition shows good 
cause for approval (such as commercial viability), barring the 
Administrator determining that the proposed standard would cause 
confusion. Administratively approved standards of fill then would be 
published on the TTB website so that other industry members are aware 
of the additional authorized sizes.

Public Participation

Comments Sought

    TTB requests comments on the proposals to eliminate the standards 
of fill for wine (with the exception of a minimum 50-milliliter 
specification) and to add a new headspace specification for wine 
bottled in a clear, 100-milliliter or smaller container. TTB also 
requests comments on alternative approaches, such as maintaining the 
standards of fill but adding some or all of the petitioned-for 
standards (200, 250, 355, 620, 700 milliliters and 2.25 liters) to 
Sec.  4.72(a)--including comments on the alternative of developing an 
expedited process for adding new standards of fill in the future and 
the criteria for approval of specific standards under an expedited 
process. Additionally, TTB understands that some state regulations on 
standards of fill for wine may incorporate TTB regulations by 
reference. TTB requests comments from state regulators on whether this 
proposal will present a regulatory issue at the state level. TTB 
invites any other suggestions or alternatives related to the issue of 
standards of fill, including headspace requirements, for wine. Given 
the absence of standards of fill for malt beverages, TTB would be 
particularly interested in comments that address the merits of 
continuing to apply different rules to wine and spirits.
    Any person submitting comments may present such data, views, or 
arguments as he or she desires. Comments that provide the factual basis 
supporting the views or suggestions presented will be particularly 
helpful in developing a reasoned regulatory decision on this matter.

Submitting Comments

    You may submit comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking by 
one of the following three methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: You may send comments via the 
online comment form posted with this proposed rule within Docket No. 
TTB-2019-0004 on ``Regulations.gov,'' the Federal e-rulemaking portal, 
at https://www.regulations.gov. A direct link to that docket is 
available under Notice No. 182 on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml. Supplemental files may be 
attached to comments submitted via Regulations.gov. For complete 
instructions on how to use Regulations.gov, click on the site's 
``Help'' tab.
     U.S. Mail: You may send comments via postal mail to the 
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and 
Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: You may hand-carry your comments or 
have them hand-carried to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 
1310 G Street NW, Suite 400E, Washington, DC 20005.
    Please submit your comments by the closing date shown above in this 
proposed rule. Your comments must reference Notice No. 182 and include 
your name and mailing address. Your comments also must be made in 
English, be legible, and be written in

[[Page 31261]]

language acceptable for public disclosure. TTB does not acknowledge 
receipt of comments, and considers all comments as originals.
    In your comment, please clearly state if you are commenting for 
yourself or on behalf of an association, business, or other entity. If 
you are commenting on behalf of an entity, your comment must include 
the entity's name as well as your name and position title. In your 
comment via Regulations.gov, please enter the entity's name in the 
``Organization'' blank of the online comment form. If you comment via 
postal mail or hand delivery/courier, please submit your entity's 
comment on letterhead.
    You may also write to the Administrator before the comment closing 
date to ask for a public hearing. The Administrator reserves the right 
to determine whether to hold a public hearing.

Confidentiality

    All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public 
record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your 
comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for 
public disclosure.

Public Disclosure

    TTB will post, and you may view, copies of this proposed rule and 
any online or mailed comments received about this proposal within 
Docket No. TTB-2019-0004 on the Federal e-rulemaking portal. A direct 
link to that docket is available on the TTB website at https://www.ttb.gov/wine/wine-rulemaking.shtml under Notice No. 182. You may 
also reach the relevant docket through the Regulations.gov search page 
at https://www.regulations.gov. For information on how to use 
Regulations.gov, click on the site's ``Help'' tab.
    All posted comments will display the commenter's name, organization 
(if any), city, and State, and, in the case of mailed comments, all 
address information, including email addresses. TTB may omit voluminous 
attachments or material that it considers unsuitable for posting.
    You may view copies of this proposed rule and any electronic or 
mailed comments TTB receives about this proposal by appointment at the 
TTB Information Resource Center, 1310 G Street NW, Washington, DC 
20005. You may also obtain copies for 20 cents per 8.5 x 11-inch page. 
Contact TTB's Regulations.gov administrator at the above address or by 
telephone at 202-453-2135 to schedule an appointment or to request 
copies of comments or other materials.

Regulatory Analysis and Notices

Analysis of Impacts

    The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs (OIRA), Office of Management and Budget, has waived review of 
this proposed rule in accordance with section 6(a)(3)(A) of Executive 
Order 12866. OIRA will subsequently make a significance determination 
of the final rule, pursuant to section 3(f) of Executive Order (E.O.) 
12866. The impacts of this proposed rule have been examined in 
accordance with Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), and the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). This rule is anticipated 
to be designated under Executive Order 13771 as a deregulatory action.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to analyze 
regulatory options that would minimize any significant impact of a rule 
on small entities. Because this proposed rule would increase regulatory 
flexibility by expanding the options available to small entities, we 
propose to certify that the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to 
prepare a written assessment of costs and benefits before proposing a 
rule with mandates that ``may result in the expenditure by State, 
local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in 
any one year.'' This proposed rule would impose no new mandates.

Purpose of the Rule

    Several regulatory requirements are intended to decrease the risk 
that consumers will misjudge the quantities of wine in containers 
available for sale. These include:
     A requirement that quantities of wine conform to values on 
a list of standard quantities, with each of the standard quantities 
separated by at least 50 milliliters (27 CFR 4.71(a)(2)); and
     A limitation on the amount of unfilled headspace at the 
top of the container (27 CFR 4.71(a)(3)).
    The standard quantities are called ``standards of fill.'' A 
requirement that, with few exceptions, a quantity available for sale 
match a standard of fill may decrease the risk of consumer confusion, 
but, under some circumstances, the limitation also decreases economic 
efficiency by preventing production at the lowest possible cost. 
Limiting the amount of headspace in containers may decrease the risk of 
consumer confusion, but, under some circumstances, that limitation may 
decrease economic efficiency by preventing desirable products from 
entering the market.
    This proposed rule would eliminate the requirement that quantities 
correspond to standards of fill, allowing wine to be sold in any 
quantity of 50 milliliters or more. The proposed rule would also 
increase permitted headspace for individually sealed glasses of wine in 
clear containers. These changes are expected to increase economic 
efficiency by allowing manufacturers to produce at lower costs and 
introduce products that would otherwise be prohibitively costly or 
explicitly forbidden.

Background

    Businesses are categorized by type using the North American 
Industry Classification System (NAICS). Establishments primarily 
engaged in manufacturing wines and brandies are classified under NAICS 
code 312130. Establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale 
distribution of wine and distilled spirits are classified under NAICS 
code 424820. Establishments primarily engaged in retailing alcoholic 
beverages, including wine, are classified under NAICS code 445310.
    Total establishments, employees, and payroll for each category are 
reported by the Census Bureau in the County Business Patterns (CBP) 
data series. The most recent year for which CBP data were available at 
the time of this analysis was 2016. Total receipts for establishments 
in each category are reported by the Census Bureau in the Statistics of 
U.S. Businesses (SUSB) data series. The most recent year for which SUSB 
receipt data were available at the time of this analysis was 2012. 
Table 1 reports total establishments, employees, payroll, and receipts 
for each category.

[[Page 31262]]



                                          Table 1--Industry Information
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Payroll        Receipts
           Industry              NAICS Code      Establishments      Employees      ($millions)     ($millions)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wineries.....................          312130              3,604          51,107           2,520          15,525
Wholesalers specializing in            424820              2,599          87,026           6,462          76,170
 wine and distilled spirits..
Retailers specializing in              445310             33,958         167,286           3,795          43,085
 wine & other alcoholic
 beverages...................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sources: Establishment counts, employee counts, and payroll are from 2016 County Business Patterns data
  published by the Census Bureau. Receipts are from 2012 Statistics of U.S. Businesses data published by the
  Census Bureau.

    Although wine is typically sold in glass bottles, wine is also 
available in other types of containers, including aluminum cans. Sales 
of canned wine have grown rapidly in recent years, reaching $28 million 
in 2017, up from $14.5 million in 2016 and $6.4 million in 2015.\1\ 
However, canned wine still accounts for only about 0.2 percent of all 
wine sales.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Martha C. White, ``Canned wine is the drink of summer 2017. 
Here are our top picks.'' Money. June 14, 2017, available at http://time.com/money/4816413/canned-wine-can-juice-box-rose-sparkling/.
    \2\ Nielsen, ``Heard it through the grapevine: Wine trends to 
watch for in 2018.'' Jan. 16, 2018, available at http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/heard-it-through-the-grapevine-wine-trends-to-watch-for-in-2018.html.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Costs

    This proposed deregulation would, if implemented, impose no new 
mandates. However, the rule could create some costs for both consumers 
and producers. We are unable to quantify the costs, but welcome public 
comment with relevant information.
    Consumers who know that quantities conform to the standards of fill 
can misjudge a quantity only by mistaking one standard quantity for 
another. The difference between the smallest standard, 50 milliliters, 
and the next standard, 100 milliliters, is 50 milliliters, or 100 
percent of the smaller standard. The absolute differences between 
adjacent standards are typically larger for larger quantities, and, for 
quantities below 3 liters, never fall below 33 percent of the smaller 
standard. Large differences between standards decrease the risk that 
one quantity on the list of standards will be mistaken for another.
    The rule would create costs for consumers if eliminating the 
standards of fill increased confusion about the quantities available 
for sale. However, confusion about quantities available for sale would 
continue to be limited by other regulations, including a requirement 
that net contents appear on a label affixed to the container (27 CFR 
4.32(b)(2)), a prohibition against containers designed in such a way as 
to mislead consumers about the quantities contained (27 CFR (a)(1)), 
and the limitation on headspace (27 CFR 4.71 (a)(3)).
    The limitation on headspace reduces the risk of consumer confusion 
by causing the quantity contained to correspond closely to the volume 
of the container. Headspace is limited to 6 percent of capacity after 
closure for containers with net contents of 187 milliliters or more and 
10 percent for other containers. The proposed rule would, if 
implemented, allow headspace that does not exceed 30 percent for clear 
containers with net contents of 100 milliliters or less.
    Increasing the limit on headspace would create costs for consumers 
if it increased confusion about the quantities available for sale. 
However, the exception is limited to containers with contents clearly 
visible. Confusion about quantity contained would be less likely with 
clear containers than with opaque containers, because the quantity 
contained could be observed directly and consumers would be less likely 
to use container size as a proxy for quantity.
    Standards of fill also may have created secondary benefits that 
would be foregone with their elimination. For example, standard sizes 
may facilitate price comparison by consumers. When the net contents of 
bottles are equal, the relative prices of the bottles correspond to the 
relative prices per unit of wine they contain. When container sizes 
differ, the relative prices of bottles may differ from the relative 
prices per unit, so the elimination of fill standards could make the 
comparison of prices per unit more difficult. Price per unit labeling 
by retailers would decrease an impact of eliminating fill standards on 
the ease of comparison. Although price per unit labeling by retailers 
is common, it is not mandatory in most states, and, where it is 
mandatory, wine is typically excluded.3 4
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ National Institute of Standards and Technology, ``Unit 
Pricing Guide: A Best Practice Approach to Unit Pricing.'' NIST 
Special Publication 1181 (2015), available at https://www.nist.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2017/04/28/SP1181-Unit-Pricing-Guide.pdf.
    \4\ National Institute of Standards and Technology, ``U.S. 
Retail Pricing Laws and Regulations by State.'' available at https://www.nist.gov/pml/weights-and-measures/us-retail-pricing-laws-and-regulations-state.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The introduction of products that do not correspond to the 
standards of fill could also create some costs for wine manufacturers, 
wholesalers, and retailers. Potential costs include those related to 
the renovation of production facilities, the distribution of containers 
that do not conform to current standards, and the reconfiguration of 
retail spaces. However, new products would only be introduced if 
profits from introducing them were, in expectation, positive.
    Therefore the expected value to consumers of the new products would 
generally exceed the expected cost of their production, including any 
costs created by deviation from the standards of fill, so that the 
benefits of introduction would be at least as large as the costs.

Benefits

    This proposed deregulation could, if implemented, create a range of 
benefits. These include increasing economic efficiency by allowing 
producers to harness economies of scale, increasing the variety of 
products available to consumers, and increasing the competitiveness of 
the market for wine. We are unable to quantify the benefits, but we 
welcome public comment with relevant information.
    The market for canned wine has grown rapidly in recent years. 
However, according to petitions from industry, the most common sizes of 
aluminum cans, like 200 milliliters, differ from the standards of fill.
    Can makers must reconfigure equipment to change the size of the 
cans produced. This reconfiguration creates a fixed cost for each size 
produced. Producing more cans of a given size lowers the average cost 
per can because it spreads the fixed cost across a larger number of 
cans. The standard of fill closest to 200 milliliters is 187 
milliliters. Petitions from industry

[[Page 31263]]

indicate that the fixed costs associated with the production of 187 
milliliter cans rather than 200 milliliter cans are substantial. 
Eliminating the standards of fill would allow wine makers to harness 
economies of scale and achieve lower costs by using the common 200 
milliliter cans.
    In some other countries, wine is produced in standard quantities 
that do not match the standards of fill in the United States. 
Reconfiguring those wine production facilities to produce bottles 
specifically for the United States creates a fixed cost. If the cost of 
reconfiguration is sufficiently high, no bottles may be produced for 
the United States, despite positive demand for those products at prices 
that correspond to production at scale.
    Eliminating the standards of fill would allow more manufacturers 
producing primarily for foreign markets to sell their wines in the 
United States. The entry of those firms would increase competition in 
the wine market. More competitive markets allocate resources more 
efficiently by matching prices more closely to costs, so an increase in 
the competitiveness of the wine market would create economic benefits.
    The introduction of those products would also increase consumer 
choice by providing them with options they may prefer to those 
currently available. Wines made primarily for foreign markets may not 
be the only new products introduced. Wine makers currently producing 
for the United States could also choose to introduce products that 
deviate from the current standards of fill.
    Bottles that deviate from the current standards may allow consumers 
to more closely match the quantities they purchase to the quantities 
they desire to consume. Furthermore, some limited evidence suggests 
that consumers value novelty in bottle sizes, and novel bottle sizes 
may be of value to producers in differentiating their 
brands.5 6
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Henrich Brunke, Franziska Thiemann & Rolf Mueller, ``Odd 
Prices for Odd Bottles at VDP Auctions.'' Paper presented at 
Enometrics XVI conference of the Vineyard Data Quantification 
Society in Namur, Belgium (2009).
    \6\ J. Fran[ccedil]ois Outreville, ``Does the Bottle Size 
Matter? An Investigation into Differences between Posted and Market 
Price.'' American Association of Wine Economists Working Paper No. 
86 (2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Increasing the limitation on headspace for clear containers of 100 
milliliters or less could also improve consumer welfare by increasing 
the options available. Comment from industry indicates that current 
headspace restrictions are problematic for individually sealed glasses 
of wine, since filling the glasses to the top creates difficulties for 
both manufacturing and consumption. Increasing the limitation on 
headspace could decrease manufacturing costs and improve consumer 
experiences with individually sealed glasses of wine.

Alternatives

    The requirement that net contents conform to standards of fill 
reduces the risk of consumer confusion about quantity at the cost of 
restrictions on producers that decrease market efficiency. Consumer 
information about net contents is also a concern for other types of 
beverages, and the regulatory approaches taken for those beverages 
present some alternatives to the proposed deregulation.
    One alternative would be to add new standards of fill to the 
current list. For example, a 200 milliliter standard could be added to 
accommodate the use of aluminum cans. One problem with that approach is 
that the new standard would be only 13 milliliters above the current 
standard of 187 milliliters, a difference of slightly less than 7 
percent of the smaller standard. Standards separated by such small 
amounts would be expected to do little to reduce consumer confusion. 
That problem could be addressed by providing separate lists of 
standards for cans and other containers, as have been provided for 
distilled spirits (27 CFR 5.47a), so that a significant difference 
between standards of fill was maintained for each category of 
container.
    However, the piecemeal addition of new standards as circumstances 
change involves costs that are avoided by eliminating the standards of 
fill entirely. The addition of new standards through rulemaking would 
continue to involve the burden on industry of petitioning for new 
standards and awaiting the outcomes and the burden on the government of 
responding to the petitions and promulgating new rules.
    Standards of fill are not the only tool available for reducing the 
risk of consumer confusion about quantities available for sale. The 
appearance of net contents on the label is another tool, and more 
prominent net contents labeling may achieve the same reduction in the 
risk of confusion without incurring the costs associated with the 
standards of fill. Currently, wine must generally conform to standards 
of fill, and net contents can appear on any label affixed to the 
container. Malt beverages need not conform to standards of fill, but 
net contents must generally appear on the brand label (27 CFR 7.22). 
Similarly, beverages like carbonated soft drinks need not conform to 
standards of fill, but net quantity of contents must appear on the 
principal display panel (21 CFR 101.7).
    A second alternative to this proposed rule would be to eliminate 
the standards of fill but require that net contents appear on the brand 
label, analogous to the requirements for malt beverages and soft 
drinks. However, the requirement that net contents appear on the brand 
label would constitute a new mandate on wine makers. Changing labels 
would involve administrative costs as well as the costs of redesigning 
labels and replacing printing equipment like engraving plates or 
cylinders. The proposed rule avoids those costs by avoiding changes to 
the labeling requirements. In addition, introducing a new requirement 
to include net contents on the brand label could potentially lead to a 
conflict with the World Wine Trade Group Agreement on Requirements for 
Wine Labelling (``WWTG Labelling Agreement''), which provides that 
certain common wine mandatory labeling information (country of origin, 
product name, net contents and alcohol content) be permitted to appear 
in any ``single field of vision.'' The WWTG Labelling Agreement sought 
to reduce regulatory burden on businesses in countries that are parties 
to the Agreement.
    Currently, some wine products are not subject to the requirement 
that net contents conform to a standard of fill (27 CFR 4.70). However, 
when net contents do not conform to a standard of fill, net contents 
must appear on a label affixed to the front of the bottle (27 CFR 
4.32(b)(2)). A third alternative is to eliminate the requirement that 
net contents conform to a standard of fill, but keep the standards of 
fill and keep the requirement that net contents be stated on a label 
affixed to the front of the bottle when the net contents do not conform 
to a standard of fill.
    This alternative would impose no new mandate, although it would 
create some costs not created by the proposed rule. This alternative 
could also incur problems similar to the alternative above with regard 
to potentially conflicting with the WWTG Labelling Agreement. 
Additionally, some foreign producers that do not conform to the 
standards of fill may need to change their labeling to satisfy the 
labeling requirement for the U.S. market. However, wine makers would 
only be expected to undertake those changes if doing so maximized 
profits.
    Therefore changes to labeling would only be expected if making them 
were less costly than conforming to the standards of fill. Furthermore, 
making such changes would only maximize

[[Page 31264]]

profits if, in expectation, the value to consumers exceeded the cost of 
production, including the cost of any labeling changes.
    We welcome comment on these and other alternatives, including 
information that will aid us in quantifying their costs and benefits.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collection of information in this rule has been previously 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the title 
``Labeling and Advertising Requirements Under the Federal Alcohol 
Administration Act,'' and assigned control number 1513-0087. This 
proposed regulation would not result in a substantive or material 
change in the previously approved collection action, since the nature 
of the mandatory information that must appear on labels affixed to the 
container remains unchanged.

Drafting Information

    Jennifer Berry of the Regulations and Rulings Division drafted this 
document, along with other Department of the Treasury personnel.

List of Subjects in 27 CFR Part 4

    Advertising, Consumer protection, Customs duties and inspection, 
Imports, Labeling, Packaging and containers.

Amendment to the Regulations

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, TTB proposes to amend 27 
CFR part 4 as follows:

PART 4--LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF WINE

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1. The authority citation for part 4 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  27 U.S.C. 205, unless otherwise noted.


Sec.  4.32   [Amended]

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2. In Sec.  4.32(b)(2), the second sentence is removed.
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3. In Sec.  4.37:
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a. Paragraph (a) introductory text is revised;
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b. Paragraph (b) subject heading and introductory text are revised;
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c. Paragraph (b)(1) is removed; and
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d. Paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) are redesignated as paragraphs (b)(1) and 
(2), respectively.
    The revisions read as follows:


Sec.  4.37   Net contents.

    (a) Statement of net contents. The net contents of wine shall be 
stated in the metric system of measure in accordance with Sec.  4.71 
and as follows:
* * * * *
    (b) Optional statement of U.S. equivalent contents. Net contents in 
U.S. equivalents may appear on the label together with the required 
metric net contents statement if shown as follows:
* * * * *


Sec.  4.70   [Amended]

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4. Amend Sec.  4.70 by:
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a. In paragraph (a), the words ``herein prescribed'' are removed and 
the phrase ``as prescribed in Sec.  4.71'' is added in its place;
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b. In paragraph (b) introductory text, the phrase ``Sections 4.71 and 
4.72 of this part do'' is removed and the phrase ``Section 4.71 of this 
part does'' is added in its place; and
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c. In paragraph (c), the phrase ``Section 4.72'' is removed and the 
phrase ``Section 4.71.'' is added in its place.
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5. Section 4.71 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  4.71   Standard wine containers.

    (a) A standard wine container must be made, formed, and filled to 
meet the following specifications:
    (1) Design. It must be so made and formed as not to mislead the 
purchaser. Wine containers must (irrespective of the correctness of the 
net contents specified on the label) be so made and formed as not to 
mislead the purchaser if the actual capacity is substantially less than 
the apparent capacity upon visual examination under ordinary conditions 
of purchase or use;
    (2) Fill and tolerances. It must be so filled as to reflect the 
quantity, including tolerances, specified for wine in the net contents 
provisions of Sec.  4.37 but may not have a fill of less than 50 
milliliters; and
    (3) Headspace. It must be designed and filled so that the 
headspace, or empty space between the top of the wine and the top of 
the container, meets the following specifications:
    (i) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section, if 
the net contents stated on the label are 187 milliliters or more, the 
headspace must not exceed 6 percent of the container's total capacity 
after closure.
    (ii) In the case of all other containers, except as described in 
paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section, the headspace must not exceed 10 
percent of the container's total capacity after closure.
    (iii) Exception. Wine bottled in clear containers, with the 
contents clearly visible, that are 100-milliliters or less may have a 
headspace that does not exceed 30 percent of the container's total 
capacity after closure.
    (b) [Reserved]


Sec.  4.72   [Removed and Reserved]

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6. Section 4.72 is removed and reserved.

    Signed: June 18, 2019.
Mary G. Ryan,
Acting Administrator.

    Approved: June 20, 2019.
Timothy E. Skud,
Deputy Assistant Secretary Tax, Trade, and Tariff Policy.
[FR Doc. 2019-13768 Filed 6-28-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4810-31-P