I’m writing this blog post to talk about one of the processes we had to go through to get a beer label approved and the thought progression behind its creation and why it’s taken so long to come out. This is not a post to bash the TTB at all. It was a great learning experience for us in the world of labeling.
We recently bottled up a Marshmallow stout that was made to imitate a s’more and it’s nothing short of fantastic. It’s slightly smoky, really chocolatey, nice and bready and has a hint of marshmallows. We did this in collaboration with our friends down at the Party Source and Quaff Bros. After we made the beer and it was aging away in barrels, we submitted the recipe to the TTB and began to think of names for it. There was only one name I wanted and I put my foot down on it: S’more of What?. You may remember the famous scene from the classic The Sandlot. (You’re killing me Smalls!)? So that part was easy.
A few weeks later I got an email from the TTB saying that the wording of our beer was incorrect. We could not have “Ale brewed with marsh mellows and aged in bourbon barrels.” We had to change it to “Ale with natural flavor added and aged in bourbon barrels”. This is normal with a lot of the beers we do, but there are A LOT of marshmallows in this and wanted to explain why the front of the label doesn’t reflect that. After we changed that, the recipe was approved and we moved on to the label.
For the Quaff Bros beers, we let their in house designer do all of the labels. Here is the original one.
Looks great. Submitted. Couple Months Later, rejected. We couldn’t have the words bend around the graham cracker like that. Next submission we fixed it.
A week or so pass. Rejected. They said we cannot have chocolate on the label if there is not chocolate in the beer. It tastes chocolaty, but we didn’t add any so it had to take it off. What else could we put in the place of Chocolate? America.
Racing finish line flag. Approved!
We had a labeling party last night and got these all labeled up. About 50 total cases were made with 40 going to Party Source and the remaining being sold in the tap room the day after the release at TPS. They are tapping a keg and selling bottles Monday May 18th at 5 pm. I hope there will be Sandlot and S’mores, eh Danny?