The Vodka Rules

When we take a sip of that lovely Vodka Mariette, it tastes all the sweeter knowing the painstaking efforts taken to distill such a delight... The taste is also improved by the legal gauntlet and regulatory hoops that must be jumped through : /

If you're curious about the rules that ensure nobody goes blind, read on...

In the United States, alcohol (including non-beverage) and the industries that produce alcohol-based products are regulated on a federal level by the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (it's a mouthful, let's stick with 'TTB'). The rules upon which the TTB exercises their authority are outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations and are extremely thorough, covering topics from prohibited sales tactics to label font size (literally).

In regards to TTB regulation of alcohol as a controlled substance, Vodka Mariette is considered a ‘Spirits Importer’. This designation is the first tier of what the TTB calls the ‘Three-Tier System’, the regulated distribution channels through 

which alcohol enters the United States. It demands that Vodka Mariette sell product it has imported/manufactured to a licensed wholesaler, who in turn may only sell to a licensed retailer (bar, restaurant, etc.). Any corporation may only hold one position in the tier and may sell to only the next tier. This federal permit we have is difficult to obtain and necessary to operate. On the state level, at which wholesalers & retailers operate, there is another set of sales guidelines unique to each state and overseen by their respective alcohol beverage control board. 

Three-Tiers: Importer > Wholesaler > Retailer

Needless to say, product approval by the TTB is required and a key aspect of market preparation. For imported vodka (flavored and non-flavored), the process of approval is broken down into three steps; all have which we obviously completed. First is authorization of any flavoring ingredients. Second is formula approval via government laboratory analysis. This is by far the most difficult step. The final step is obtaining Certificate of Label Approval (COLA), a process that thoroughly inspects the presentation of the brand.

Quite a lengthy process, but nothing is more important to us than your safety. Visit to have the fruits of our TTB lawyer's labor, delivered right to your door!

*Photo taken at Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Expo in Las Vegas, NV