DISCUS Seeks Standards for American Single Malt Whiskey


April 28, 2022

Is it American Single Malt Whiskey

A coalition representing nearly 100 large and small American Single Malt Whiskey producers across the United States sent a letter today to the Treasury Department’s Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) urging the Bureau to move forward with its proposed rulemaking to establish a standard of identity for American Single Malt Whiskey. 

The letter, sent on behalf of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC), stated, “the need for the development of a standard for this growing category has reached a critical moment as more distillers than ever are labeling their products with this term while there are no formal TTB requirements for the American Single Malt Whiskey category.”

The coalition noted that consumers will benefit greatly from a clear definition of what constitutes a single malt whiskey produced in the United States.

“This new standard will establish trust in the category, clarify label declarations, and equip consumers with the necessary information to make informed purchasing decisions,” the coalition said.  “The formal establishment of this category would also signal to the world that not only do we believe in and support our own distilleries, but we also recognize that American Single Malt Whiskey is as unique as other American staples, such as Bourbon, and deserves to be similarly defined and protected.”

The coalition pointed out that regulations protecting the standard of identity for Scotch Whisky have been in place for generations and that similar regulations are necessary to protect the developing Single Malt Whiskey category in the United States.

Over the past 10 years, the American whiskey category has grown exponentially and recognition of U.S.‐produced Single Malt Whiskey is now at an all‐time high with U.S. distillers winning awards and competitions nationally and around the world. 

DISCUS and ASMWC submitted official comments to TTB in June 2019 in support of establishing a standard of identity for American Single Malt Whiskey as part of the Bureau’s 2018 rulemaking to modernize the labeling and advertising regulations for distilled spirits, wine and malt beverages.

Following that submission, TTB placed a rulemaking regarding a Single Malt Whiskey standard of identity on its semi-annual regulatory agenda in 2021 but it has yet to issue the notice of proposed rulemaking.