Hard Cider

For still wines and hard cider, is ANY carbonation allowed whatsoever?

An effervescent wine is a wine that contains more than 0.392 grams of carbon dioxide per 100 milliliters. Still wines can have 0.391 CO2 per 100 mL. The label MUST state the source of carbonation and the tax rate is different.

Does the source of carbonation matter for hard cider (apple wine)?

Yes. A “sparkling wine” is made effervescent (containing more than 0.392 grams of carbon dioxide per 100 milliliters of wine) by carbon dioxide resulting solely from the secondary fermentation of the wine within a closed container, tank or bottle. A wine made effervescent in any other way (such as injection of carbon dioxide) is considered artificially carbonated.

Even though a low alcohol wine, the taxes are still the same on effervescent wines.

  • Artificially Carbonated Wine: $3.30 per wine gallon
  • Sparkling Wine: $3.40 per wine gallon

What ingredients can be added to cider for it to receive the cider tax rate?

There is a tax rate of 22.6¢ per wine gallon for “hard cider” that meets specific criteria. To qualify for this tax rate, hard cider must be “a still wine derived primarily from apples or apple concentrate and water, containing no other fruit product, and containing not less than 0.5 percent and less than 7 percent alcohol by volume.”   Under the law and regulations, cider must meet all of the following criteria in order to qualify for the “hard cider” tax rate:

  • The cider must be a still wine.  This means it must contain no more than 0.392 gram of carbon dioxide per hundred milliliters of wine. Effervescent cider (including sparkling and carbonated cider) is not eligible for the hard cider tax rate;
  • The wine must be derived primarily from apples or apple concentrate and water (sugar also allowed). This means that apple juice, or the equivalent amount of concentrate reconstituted to the original brix of the juice prior to concentration, must represent more than 50 percent of the volume of the finished product;
  • The wine must contain no other fruit product (such as juice from a fruit other than apples); nor may it contain any artificial product that imparts a fruit flavor other than apple (such as an artificial pear or blueberry flavor); and
  • The wine must contain at least 0.5 percent but less than 7 percent alcohol by volume. Any wine containing 7 percent or more alcohol by volume is not eligible for the hard cider tax rate.

Bottom line, adding anything makes it a wine and not a hard cider product for tax purposes.

What ingredients or processes require FDA formula approval?

From TTB’s labeling standpoint, to call a product just “cider” it has to come from fermented apples and optionally contain added sugar, water, or alcohol. Anything else, it’s not just “cider” and will require formula approval. Formula approval is required to produce natural cider or other natural fruit wine, even if the wine is fermented from the juice of different fruits.  A “natural” wine is the product of the juice or must of sound, ripe fruit (including berries) made with any cellar treatment and containing not more than 21 percent by weight (21 degrees Brix dealcoholized wine) of total solids.

TTB formula approval is required for:

  • Wine produced by blending two finished fruit wines together (for example, apple wine and pear wine);
  • Wine with added flavors or spices; and
  • Wine made with excess sugar and/or water or other cellar treatments not authorized for natural wine.

When you submit your formula, TTB will provide a suggested statement of composition to help you, and you can always designate a fanciful name on the label, so long as it’s not misleading.

What must be on cider labels below 7%ABV to be in compliance with the FDA?

For FDA label compliance (ciders below 7%ABV), there are two ways to label packages and containers:

  1. Place all required label statements on the front label panel (the principal display panel or PDP), or,
  2. Place certain specified label statements on the PDP and other labeling on the information panel (the label panel immediately to the right of the PDP, as seen by the consumer facing the product).

The PDP, is that portion of the package label that is most likely to be seen by the consumer at the time of purchase. Many containers are designed with two or more different surfaces that are suitable for display as the PDP

Food labels must list:

  1. name of the food
  2. the net quantity statement, or amount of product name of the food
  3. the ingredient list
  4. nutrition labeling if no exemption applies
  5. any required allergy labeling(milk, eggs, fish, crustacea, mollusks, tree nuts, wheat, and legumes (particularly peanuts and soybeans)
  6. health warning statement
  7. Name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. Unless the name given is the actual manufacturer, it must be accompanied by a qualifying phrase which states the firm’s relation to the product (e.g., “manufactured for “or “distributed by”);
  8. Street address if the firm name and address are not listed in a current city directory or telephone book;
  9. City or town;
  10. State (or country, if outside the United States); and
  11. ZIP code (or mailing code used in countries other than the United States).

Place the statement of identity, or name of the food, and the net quantity statement, or amount of product, on the PDP and on the alternate PDP. Other information can be on the information panel or PDP. For information panel labeling, use a print or type size that is prominent, conspicuous and easy to read. Use letters that are at least one-sixteenth (1/16) inch in height based on the lower case letter “o”. The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and the lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background so as to be easy to read. Do not crowd required labeling with artwork or non-required labeling.

 

Information that is not required by FDA is considered intervening material and is not permitted to be placed between the required labeling on the information panel (e.g., the UPC bar code is not FDA required labeling)

What must be on cider labels below 7%ABV to be in compliance with the FDA?

For FDA label compliance (ciders below 7%ABV), there are two ways to label packages and containers:

  1. Place all required label statements on the front label panel (the principal display panel or PDP), or,
  2. Place certain specified label statements on the PDP and other labeling on the information panel (the label panel immediately to the right of the PDP, as seen by the consumer facing the product).

The PDP, is that portion of the package label that is most likely to be seen by the consumer at the time of purchase. Many containers are designed with two or more different surfaces that are suitable for display as the PDP

Food labels must list:

  1. name of the food
  2. the net quantity statement, or amount of product name of the food
  3. the ingredient list
  4. nutrition labeling if no exemption applies
  5. any required allergy labeling(milk, eggs, fish, crustacea, mollusks, tree nuts, wheat, and legumes (particularly peanuts and soybeans)
  6. health warning statement
  7. Name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. Unless the name given is the actual manufacturer, it must be accompanied by a qualifying phrase which states the firm’s relation to the product (e.g., “manufactured for “or “distributed by”);
  8. Street address if the firm name and address are not listed in a current city directory or telephone book;
  9. City or town;
  10. State (or country, if outside the United States); and
  11. ZIP code (or mailing code used in countries other than the United States).

Place the statement of identity, or name of the food, and the net quantity statement, or amount of product, on the PDP and on the alternate PDP. Other information can be on the information panel or PDP. For information panel labeling, use a print or type size that is prominent, conspicuous and easy to read. Use letters that are at least one-sixteenth (1/16) inch in height based on the lower case letter “o”. The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and the lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background so as to be easy to read. Do not crowd required labeling with artwork or non-required labeling.

Information that is not required by FDA is considered intervening material and is not permitted to be placed between the required labeling on the information panel (e.g., the UPC bar code is not FDA required labeling)

Do we qualify for the Nutrition Facts Exemption and do I need to file to get it?

The nutrition labeling exemptions for small businesses apply to retailers with annual gross sales of not more than $500,000, or with annual gross sales of foods or dietary supplements to consumers of not more than $50,000. For these exemptions, a notice does not need to be filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If any nutrient content claim (e.g., “sugar free”), health claim, or other nutrition information is provided on the label, or in labeling or advertising, the small business exemption is not applicable for a product. 

The nutrition labeling exemptions for low-volume products apply if the person claiming the exemption employs fewer than an average of 100 full-time equivalent employees and fewer than 100,000 units of that product are sold in the United States in a 12-month period. For these exemptions, a notice must be filed annually with FDA.

These exemptions pertain only to nutrition labeling information, and have no effect on all other mandatory information (i.e., statement of identity, net quantity of contents, ingredient statement, and name and address of manufacturer, packer or distributor).

The firm claiming the exemption must submit a completed notice to FDA annually. If FDA does not receive a completed notice each year, the exemption no longer applies. FDA DOES NOT NOTIFY FIRMS WHEN IT IS TIME TO FILE A NOTICE. FDA DOES NOT SEND CONFIRMATION THAT THE AGENCY HAS RECEIVED YOUR COMPLETED NOTICE. PLEASE KEEP A COPY OF YOUR SUBMITTED NOTICE FOR YOUR RECORDS.

This can be filed via a Web-based Submission, or

  • Fax your notice to: 301-436-2639 or 301-436-2636 (sample below)
  • E-mail your notice to: sbusiness@cfsan.fda.gov
  • Send your notice to:
    Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
    Food and Drug Administration
    HFS-820
    5100 Paint Branch Parkway
    College Park, MD 20740-3835

If you have questions, you can call 240-402-2371

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