I am always being asked about what can be done on the bonded premises and general premises of a distillery. Below are the key TTB regulations concerning this. Read together, you can only have distilling, processing, bottling and storing operations on the bonded premises and you can only have offices, restrooms (not open to the public), or other administrative operations on the general premises. You are not required to have any general premises if you do not want it. If you want to do anything else on the bonded premises or general premises, you need to get prior approval from the TTB. To me, this means you cannot have events (especially were alcohol is served) on the bonded premises or general premises. You can, however, do whatever you want on what should be designated on your TTB application as “adjacent retail space” or “adjacent event space”. I do not think there is a lot of strict enforcement in this area except with regard to bonded premises. The concern is that someone might try to abscond with a large amount of non-taxpaid spirits. The only problem is practicality. Have you tried to lift a 55-gallon barrel? Those things are not light.
As used in this part, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated unless either the context in which they are used requires a different meaning, or a different definition is prescribed for a particular subpart, section, or portion of this part:
Bonded premises. The premises of a distilled spirits plant, or part thereof, as described in the application for registration, on which the conduct of distilled spirits operations defined in 26 U.S.C. 5002 is authorized.
General premises. Any business office, service facility, or other part of the premises described in the notice of registration other than bonded premises.
§19.54 Use of distilled spirits plant premises.
(a) General. A person may not conduct any business or operation on the premises of a distilled spirits plant unless the business or operation is authorized by the notice of registration on file with TTB or authorized under §19.55.
(b) Bonded premises. The proprietor must use the bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant exclusively for distilled spirits operations. The proprietor must store packaged spirits, cases of spirits, or portable containers of spirits in a room or building on bonded premises. TTB may approve another method of storage as an alternate method or procedure. However, the proprietor must apply for, and receive approval for another method of storage from the appropriate TTB officer in accordance with §19.27 before using that method.
(c) General premises. General premises are any portion of the distilled spirits plant described in the notice of registration other than bonded premises. A person may not use the general premises of a distilled spirits plant for any operation required under the provisions of this part to be conducted on bonded premises.
§19.55 Other businesses.
(a) The appropriate TTB officer may authorize the conduct of a business other than that of a distiller, warehouseman, or processor on the premises of a distilled spirits plant if:
(1) The business is not prohibited by 26 U.S.C. 5601(a)(6);
(2) The business will not jeopardize the revenue;
(3) The business will not hinder TTB’s effective administration of this part; and
(4) The business will not be contrary to law.
(b) A person who wishes to conduct another business at a distilled spirits plant must apply for such authorization in accordance with §19.73(b) or §19.120(b) and receive approval from the appropriate TTB officer before operating the other business. The approval will specify whether the other business may be conducted on the bonded premises or on the general premises.
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