So You Want to Change Your Label. Do You Need a New COLA?

If you are a distillery, winery, brewery, or importer, you are familiar with the federal and state label approval process. Did you know that TTB has expanded the types of changes you can make to an approved label without having to get a new Certificate of Label Approval?

According to TTB, you must get a new COLA when changing:

  • the class/type statement
  • the brand name
  • the appellation of origin (wine only)
  • the mandatory address statement (unless the new address is in the same state as the old address)
  • the actual bottler or importer

You must get a new COLA when adding:

  • new graphics/pictures/representations (except as specifically authorized, for example, holiday themed graphics)
  • new wording/phrases/text/certifications (except as specifically authorized, for example serving instructions)

TTB has an online tool to help you evaluate whether other changes you have in mind require a new COLA. To use the tool, click here and then choose your commodity and the action you’d like to take—add, delete, or change—to find out if the revision requires a new COLA.

If your product will be sold in Texas, you have to register your labels with TABC. With respect to wine and distilled spirits, if the change you make doesn’t require a new TTB COLA, then you don’t have to re-register the revised label with TABC.

Revised malt beverage labels must be registered with TABC. If the change is one of the following, then it can be filed as an amendment and you need not include the lab analysis that is required with an original label application.

  • Add or delete any non-mandatory label information, including text, illustrations, graphics, and ingredients.
  • Reposition any label information, including text, illustrations, and graphics.
  • Change the color of the background or text, the shape, or the proportionate size of labels.
  • Change the type size or font or make appropriate changes to the spelling (including punctuation marks and abbreviations) of words.
  • Change to the type of container or net contents statement.
  • Add, delete, or change optional information referencing awards, medals or a rating or recognition provided by an organization as long as the rating or recognition reflects simply the opinion of the organization and does not make a specific substantive claim about the product or its competitors.
  • Add, delete, or change holiday or seasonal-themed graphics, artwork, or salutations.
  • Add, delete, or change promotional sponsorship-themed graphics, logos, artwork, dates, event locations or other sponsorship-related information.
  • Add, delete or change references to a year or date.

TABC encourages users to file their label applications (and permit and license renewal applications) online. To file an application online, an officer or manager of the permittee or licensee who has been reported to TABC must first register your company with TABC by clicking on this link.

Once your company has been registered, the officer/manager can file label applications and renew all permits and licenses online if the company has no changes to report. If there are changes to report at the time of renewal, the changes and renewal application must be filed on paper forms before the permit or license expires.

If you would like Martin Frost & Hill to file TABC label applications or renewal applications for you, log onto the account that you registered for your company and select “Authorized Representative.” Then add one or more of our paralegals using her mfhliquorlaw.com email address:

Rebecca Dacke: rdacke@mfhliquorlaw.com

Amy Igo: aigo@mfhliquorlaw.com

Tracy Borrel: tborrel@mfhliquorlaw.com

Please let us know when you’ve added us as an Authorized Representative so we can calendar your renewals.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about changes to your labels, TABC’s online application process, or other matters affecting your alcoholic beverage operations. You can reach any of us at (512) 473-0300.

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