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BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
A Guide to Selling Beverages in the State of Maine
Regulatory Requirements For Beverage Plant Licensing and Bottle Bill Laws
The information contained in these guidelines will assist you in the process of meeting regulatory requirements in order to sell beverages in the State of Maine. These guidelines are intended to outline the key points that are necessary to comply with the laws, rules and regulations for both beverage plant licensing and the bottle bill laws, enforced by the Department of Agriculture.
Note: Beverage plant licensing and Bottle Bill law requirements are two separate issues
For help or additional information in meeting these regulatory requirements, please contact the:
Maine Department of Agriculture
There are other state agency regulatory requirements for alcoholic beverages and bottled water that also must be met. To assist you in meeting the licensing, registration and reporting requirements for alcoholic beverages, you will need to contact:
Maine Department of Public Safety
To assist you in meeting additional requirements for the sale of bottled water in the State of Maine, you will need to contact:
Beverage Plant Licensing
A license to sell non- alcoholic beverages in the State of Maine is a requirement for both in-state and out-of-state bottlers. If a beverage defined by 32 MRSA section 1751 (1) meets this definition, then a license is necessary to sell beverage(s) in the State of Maine.
"Beverage" means any non-alcoholic flavored carbonated drink, soda water, non-alcoholic still drinks, diluted fruit or vegetable juices whether sweetened or unsweetened, seasoned or unseasoned with salt or spice, or still or carbonated mineral waters used as a drink. The term shall not include undiluted concentrated fruit or vegetable juice nor such juice when reconstituted to its original volume.
If a beverage product line is bottled or co-packed at multiple locations, each location must obtain a beverage plant license to be in compliance.
A complete listing of beverage plant licensing laws can be found on line at:
Complete the beverage plant section of the food and fuel license application found online at:http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/qar/qarforms/index.htm
Maine Bottle Bill Requirements
Getting started, it is important to understand what a beverage is, and what it is not. A beverage is defined by 32 MRSA Section 1861 (1) and Chapter 360 Section 1 (B)(1) as:
“Beverage” means beer, ale or other drink produced by fermenting malt, spirits, wine, wine coolers, soda or noncarbonated water and all nonalcoholic carbonated or noncarbonated drinks in liquid form and intended for internal human consumption, except for unflavored rice milk, unflavored soymilk, milk and dairy-derived products.
The term "beverage" excludes the following:
Should your product(s) meet the legal definition of a beverage, it will then be necessary that all requirements of the Bottle Bill be met prior to offering beverage(s) for sale in the State of Maine.
Should you have questions relating to the exemption determination of a beverage by definition from Bottle Bill requirements, you may contact this office at 207-287-3841 for guidance. It may be necessary that you submit the actual product label for review, in order to make a determination.
As a part of the registration process, the Department requires that a label for each brand, kind and size be submitted for approval prior to sale in the State of Maine. Labeling requirement are as follows:
The Bottle Bill requires the registration of beverage labels. 32 MRSA section 1865 (3) and Chapter 360 Section 5 requires beverages to be registered by their UPC for each combination of beverage and container manufactured:
Registration of beverage container labels must take place at the manufacturer level or, if the beverage container has a "private label", the brand owner shall be responsible for label registration. In the case of imported beverages, the importer may register the beverage label(s).
Registration is done by completing the Beverage Container Licensing /Labeling Registration and Beverage Container Label Addendum forms. Forms are available online at: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/qar/bottlebill/index.html
Your application must include a label for each beverage you are registering which shows the Maine deposit logo and UPC.
In addition, all metal beverage containers that are embossed, incised, or printed with the deposit logo, and any beverage container where the deposit logo is applied by ink jet or other means to any beverage container, must be submitted to the Department for approval.
Registration fees are $1 each for wine labels and $4 each for all other labels. Make checks payable to “Treasurer, State of Maine”.
Initiator of Deposit
An “Initiator of Deposit” or “initiator” is defined by 32 MRSA Section 1862 8-A as:
A manufacturer, distributor or other person who initiates a deposit on a beverage container under section 1863-A.
This is also defined by Chapter 360 section 1B(1)(5) as "Initiator of Deposit" as meaning:
A business entity, either a manufacturer, distributor, or seller who is licensed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources to initiate deposits on beverage containers with labels properly registered under 32 M.R.S.A. section 1865 subsection 3 and meeting the deposit requirements enumerated in 32 M.R.S.A. section 1863-A.
An “Initiator of Deposit” in most cases is the distributor of the beverage. When a beverage is sold through a multiple distribution system, it is the manufacturer or brand owner who may become the “Initiator of Deposit” and obtain the license. An “Initiator of Deposit” in most cases provides for the retrieval of empty beverage containers.
An “Initiator of Deposit” must be licensed in accordance with 32 MRSA Section 1871-A of the Bottle Bill. Licensing is obtained by completion of the Beverage Container Licensing /Labeling Registration form, and remitting the $500 annual fee.
Responsible Party for Pickup
The Bottle Bill requires that there be a responsible party for the retrieval of empty beverage containers from retailers of the beverage, and the licensed redemption centers who service those retailers. The responsible party shall pay the deposit value and applicable handling fees to retailers and licensed redemption centers.
The Department is unable to register beverages or issue “Initiator of Deposit” licenses to applicants who do not have a system in place to retrieve empty containers.
Beverages offered for sale, which have no responsible party for the retrieval of empty beverage containers, are considered a violation. The Department may take action against such beverage(s) by removing them from sale.
Chapter 360 Section B (4) defines "Contracted Agent" as:
A public or private company or individual who enters into an agreement with the initiator of deposit to pick up empty beverage containers from redemption centers and dealers.
Each contracted agent must be licensed. A license is obtained by completing the Beverage Container Licensing /Labeling registration form and remitting the $500 annual fee.
There are two firms currently licensed by the Department to provide these services to Initiators of Deposit:
Returnable Services (NEXCYCLE)
Maine Recycling Corp.
Beverage Plant Laws:
32 MRSA Chapter 27 http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/32/title32ch27sec0.html
Bottle Bill Laws
32 MRSA Chapter 28 http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/32/title32ch28sec0.html
Bottle Bill Regulations
Beverage Plant License Application http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/qar/qarforms/index.htm
Licensing/Labeling Registration Application
Beverage Container Label Addendum
A daily updated listing of registered beverages in downloadable EXCEL format is available on the Departments website. http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/qar/bottlebill/RCREGISTRATIONLIST.xls
Maine Revenue Services
Initiator of Deposit Tax Information/Forms http://www.maine.gov/revenue/othertaxes/initiator_of_deposit/initiator_of_deposit.htm
BEVERAGE CONTAINER SALES CHECKLIST
Certain ”Initiators of Deposit” have reporting requirements (32 MRSA Section 1866-E) for "unclaimed" or "unredeemed" deposits that remain the property of an Initiator of Deposit, and must be reported to the Maine Revenue Services.
An exemption from these reporting requirements exists for certain beverages of brand, kind and size that are part of a co-mingling group, and a brewer who produces no more than 50,000 gallons of its product or a bottler of water who sells no more than 250,000 containers each containing no more than one gallon of its product in a calendar year are exempt from the requirements of this section for that year. All others must comply with requirements of this statute.
For information on meeting the filing requirements of the Initiator of Deposit Tax, please contact:
On-line information and forms are available on the Maine Revenue Services website at: http://www.maine.gov/revenue/othertaxes/initiator_of_deposit/initiator_of_deposit.htm
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