The TTB makes it very clear that you may not operate your brewery until you receive an approval of your Brewer’s Notice. The good news is that there is no fee associated with filing a Brewer’s Notice. The bad news is that this process will probably take you at least 100 days. The TTB’s stated goal for approving or denying these notices is within 95 days of its receipt of the perfected application (i.e. after correction of any deficiencies in the application). Taking care to avoid application defects in the initial application will help you start brewing faster and help you minimize startup expenses.
Some of the main requirements in the Brewer’s Notice include providing: the brewery’s name (from step 1); information related to your business structure (from step 2); and information related to the brewery’s location, facility, and equipment (from step 3). You may also be required to file the following attachments: articles of incorporation/organization; trade name registrations; certificate to transact business in a foreign state; power(s) of attorney; diagram (with dimensions) of the brewery/brewpub; legal description of the brewery; supplemental information on water quality considerations; personnel questionnaires for relevant parties to the business; by-laws; partnership agreement(s); environmental information; and/or a statement describing the security at the brewery. Some of these checklist items are discussed below.
The TTB has limited resources to review Brewer’s Notices, and these resources are stretched even thinner as hundreds of new breweries have begun popping up every year. I always recommend that a brewery work with an attorney in this process, but breweries who are handling their own application are able to contact the TTB directly via their contact page to ask for assistance in this process.