Acquiring the appropriate federal licenses is one of the first milestones that entrepreneurs face when jumping into the beverage alcohol industry. The process can feel particularly complex and time-consuming so we’ve broken down the steps you’ll need to take. 

The first thing to note is that to receive proceeds for the sale of alcohol in the U.S., you will need to have a Federal Basic Permit. There are several different types of Federal Basic Permits that can be obtained through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), including producer permits for wineries, breweries, and distilled spirits plants. 

  • Producer Permits are required to establish a production site that will produce, bottle, or store beverage alcohol. 
  • Wholesale Permits are required for businesses that plan to sell beverage alcohol products at wholesale to other wholesalers or retailers. 
  • Import Permits are required for anyone wishing to import beverage alcohol products into the U.S. to distribute to wholesalers or retailers.

In this review, we will focus on the requirements for Federal Wholesale and Import Permits. The requirements for these permits serve as base requirements for all Federal Basic Permits, including the producer permits, though producer permits do each require their own additional information for submission.

Requirements for a Federal Basic Permit

When applying for a Federal Basic Permit, it’s important to be prepared with any necessary documentation. You will also want to make sure to save any completed documents once they’ve been submitted in case the TTB has any issues while processing your application. To file for a Federal Basic Permit, you will need:

FEIN/EIN – Your Federal Employer Identification Number to process your company’s application for a Federal Basic Permit.

Articles of Organization/Articles of Incorporation – These state-specific documents serve as documentation demonstrating the legal creation of your limited liability company (LLC) or corporation as a registered business entity within the state. 

Power of AttorneyThis is a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf in private affairs, business, or other legal matters. This document signals to the TTB whom the agency should communicate with in regards to the application.

TTB Signing Authority This form authorizes appointed company officials to sign any official documentation on behalf of the corporation. While owners will be the signing authority in most cases, employees may also be appointed.

Personal Questionnaire – Anyone who owns 10% or more of the company, or is considered a TTB Signing Authority, must fill out a questionnaire on their personal background information. This can be completed online at their discretion or completed by their power of attorney.

Letter of Intent – This document is specifically for the Federal Basic Import Permit. It must be filled out by the foreign producer and list the products that are being supplied to the domestic party for importation into the U.S. market.

Of course, all of these requirements are subject to any future regulatory changes. For the latest information on applying for a Federal Basic Permit, you can visit the TTB’s website here

Park Street Companies also files applications for Federal Wholesale and Import Permits on behalf of clients via its Federal Regulatory Compliance department.