American Single Malts Set To Receive Official Designation From The TTBAugust 1, 2022
On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued its long-awaited notice of a proposed rule to define and recognize American single malt whisky as a specific category. The news comes as a boon to American distillers who have sought the classification for several years as they continue to establish American single malts as a unique category within the burgeoning brown spirits market.
“The formal establishment of standards of identity for American single malt whisky is a clear recognition that this rapidly growing category is unique and deserves to be defined and protected as a distinctive product of the United States,” said DISCUS president and CEO Chris Swonger. “Consumer fascination with American single malt whisky is at an all‐time high and establishing a clear definition will drive innovation and help maintain the integrity of this category as more products enter the market.”
Under the proposed rule, “American single malt whisky” must be distilled entirely at one U.S. distillery, and must be mashed, distilled, and aged in the United States. Its source must be fermented mash of 100% malted barley, it must be stored in oak barrels no larger than 700 liters, and it may not contain neutral spirits, but “allowable coloring, flavoring, and blending materials” are permitted. American single malts must be bottled at 40% abv or higher. The TTB will be taking comments on the proposed rule until September 27.
While gaining recognition for the new category has been a years-long process, the TTB’s move was immediately welcomed by American distillers. “We believe this established identity will amplify consumer awareness of the American single malt category in the United States and beyond,” said Owen Martin, head distiller at Colorado-based single malt producer Stranahan’s, which is part of the Proximo portfolio. “With the category being officiated, American single malts will start to compete with traditional whiskey categories.”
“Announcing American single malts as a formal category by the TTB is a historic moment for the industry, as it has been decades since a new whisky category of this magnitude has been added to the Beverage Alcohol Manual,” said Virginia Distillery Company CEO Gareth Moore, who is also treasurer of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission. “The American whisky category was synonymous with Bourbon just 15 years ago, but the resurgence of rye diversified that view. The American single malt category will further broaden the view of the American whisky consumer and fuel innovation and premiumization across domestic products.”Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.