The Feds gave the wine and spirits industry a late Christmas gift on Monday (12.28). The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) announced new fill (bottle size) standards that will shift the standards away from the ubiquitous 750ml bottle.
The agency announced that wine may now also be sold domestically in 355 ml, 250 ml, and 200 ml fills. Spirits producers now have the added option to bottle at 1.8L, 900ml, 720ml, and 700 ml.
(Don’t worry. All your favorite Yankee sizes like the 750ml, 1L, and 1500ml ‘handle’ will still be in the mix.)
The measure was debated for years. Many foreign producers advocated for the change given that the new (to the US) sizes are already standard elsewhere and exporting to the old US sizing required changes to their bottling lines. Conversely, organizations like the National Consumer League (NCL) cautioned that too many sizes would create opaque market and confused consumers.
In fact, the TTB scrapped an initial proposal to eliminate standardized sizes altogether, opting for a compromise.
“The amendments described in this final rule will provide bottlers with flexibility by allowing the use of the added container sizes, and will facilitate the movement of goods in domestic and international commerce, while also providing consumers broader purchasing options,” read a statement from the government.