BVC - ATF Hard cider classification..

Pug Bainter pug at
Sat Oct 17 06:21:16 PDT 1998

----- Forwarded message from cider-request at -----

Subject: New ATF definition of Hard Cider and New ATF Cider Tax category
From: Mike Wexler <cmwexlerc at>
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 12:57:20 -0400

Hi Folks,

It was just brought to my attention that the US BATF published a 
temporary rule in the Federal Register on August 21, 1998 creating a new 
definition of Hard Cider and a new tax category for producers of Hard 
Cider. I haven't seen this mentioned here, so I though you might like to 
know about this. They have maintained the "roadside cider exemption" so 
as to not destroy small farmers' tax exempt hard cider production. Their 
new definition is for producers who are bonded and pay tax on cider:

Definition of Hard Cider

    The statutory language describes "hard cider" eligible for the 
new tax rate as "derived primarily from apples or apple concentrate 
and water, containing no other fruit product, and containing at least 
one-half of 1 percent and less than 7 percent alcohol by volume."
    In this temporary rule, ATF defines hard cider as wine derived 
primarily from apples or apple concentrate and water (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); containing no other 
fruit product nor any artificial product which imparts a fruit flavor 
other than apple; containing at least one-half of 1 percent and less than 
7 percent alcohol by volume; having the taste, aroma, and characteristics 
generally attributed to hard cider, and sold or offered for sale as 
hard cider and not as a substitute for any other alcohol product.

The full temporary rule can be seen at:

The ATF is asking for comment on this temporary rule and poses two 

1. Is the requirement that more than 50 percent of the volume of the 
finished product be apple juice or reconstituted apple concentrate 
adequate to ensure the product has the characteristics of hard cider?

2. Given the prohibition on fruit flavors other than apple, should wine 
treating and sweetening materials derived from other fruit products 
(such as citric acid or high fructose liquid sugars) be prohibited in 

Your comments must be received by the ATF by October 20, 1998. 

Send written comments to: Chief, Regulations Branch, Bureau 
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, PO Box 50221, Washington, DC 20091-
0221, Attention: Notice Number 859.

Also, you can submit comments by filling out the form on the ATF website 

You can also FAX comments: "Comments may be submitted by facsimile 
transmission (FAX) to (202) 927-8602, provided the comments: (1) Are 
legible, (2) are 8-1/2"  x 11" in size, (3) contain a written signature, 
and (4) are three pages or less in length. This limitation is necessary 
to assure reasonable access to the equipment. Comments sent by FAX in 
excess of three pages will not be accepted. Receipt of FAX transmittals 
will not be acknowledged. Facsimile transmitted comments will be treated 
as originals."

I don't know if there are any commercial cider producers on this list, 
but those of us who sometimes purchase and consume commercial cider might 
like to make our voices heard, and this is the time to officially do so!


Please note anti-spam e-mail: remove the two c's to respond.

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