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Insight Center: Publications

Hand Sanitizer Regulations Relaxed for Manufacturers to Meet COVID-19 Demand

Client Alert

Author: AnnMarie Sanford

Hand Sanitizer Regulations Relaxed for Manufacturers to Meet COVID-19 Demand

On March 18, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) eased certain internal revenue requirements pertaining to distilled spirits to allow companies to meet the demand for hand sanitizer during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These actions pertain to a variety of entities currently regulated by TTB, including alcohol fuel plants (AFPs), distilled spirits plants (DSPs) and industrial alcohol user permittees. These measures are approved through June 30, 2020, with the possibility for further extensions.

In order to address the increased demand for hand sanitizer, TTB acted to waive certain permit requirements for the production and purchase of ethanol used in hand sanitizer products and requirements pertaining to the production of hand sanitizer.

As a result of these actions, existing AFPs and beverage DSPs can begin producing ethanol for use in hand sanitizer without having to obtain prior authorization. TTB also is allowing industrial alcohol user permit holders to increase the amount of denatured ethanol they purchase without requiring any permit modification.

TTB’s actions also allow more companies to produce hand sanitizer products. All TTB-permitted DSPs (including AFPs and beverage DSPs), as well as industrial alcohol user permit holders, may now manufacture hand sanitizer products without first obtaining formula approval from TTB, so long as they meet World Health Organization guidance.

Finally, TTB guidance states that hand sanitizer products made with denatured ethanol are not subject to federal excise tax, but federal excise tax applies to those made with undenatured ethanol.

If you would like to learn more about these emergency actions, please contact AnnMarie Sanford at

The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.

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