Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

YetiChocolates

Legal issues with alcohol in ganaches

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone, wanted to query the group to get some advice/feedback on some trouble I seem to have found myself unintentionally in with regards to alcohol in ganaches.  This is a tricky topic I know, because there are different rules and regs depending on what state you own and operate a business in, but I still thought it might be useful to pick folks brains on this as it is something I intend to fight, so the more knowledge I have under my belt the better I will be I figure.

 

So here is the current situation.  There is a Red Wine and Chocolate weekend that happens in the Chelan Valley in Washington every year around Valentines Day, and it is a great opportunity to collaborate with wineries and promote your chocolates.  I have been working with a particular winery for some time and have a great relationship with them.  They asked me last fall if I could make a chocolate with their wine in it.  I said "Of course!" as I know others who have and figured it was something I would be able to come up with as well, heck I tasted a wine chocolate that Julian Rose had at the NW Chocolate Festival in Seattle in November for goodness sake.  So I took a formula I received from a member here on eG and used it as a baseline and eventually came up with a wonderful wine ganache that admittedly was 30% wine (it was a water ganache).  I did heat the wine so some of the alcohol probably burned off, but it was still probably fairly alcoholic.  However, since it wasn't a chocolate I intended to sell, and was making it specifically for this client for their winery, I thought nothing of it.

 

Well I received a call from the Liquor Control Board here in Washington state today, saying that they were just at the tasting room with the wine ganache and wanted me to explain to them how much alcohol I use in my ganaches (as they carry some other chocolates I make on a regular basis that have alcohol) and the process of adding the alcohol (whether at the beginning where it could be cooked out or the end).  I explained to the person that most of my gananche batches have between 2-9% alcohol, but that each chocolate contains 2.5-11 grams per piece, so the actual alcohol content was minimal.  Said Liquor Control Board enforcement agent was not satisfied and said I needed a license to produce chocolates with alcohol and that my products needed to be labeled properly so that they would not be sold to minors.  They also were planning to contact all the wineries I worked with to have them pull all the chocolates with alcohol in them since they were not labeled correctly.

 

According to him there needs to be 0.5% or less alcohol content in order to bypass this license and labeling requirements, which I feel I meet, but has anyone else run into this?  

 

I plan to get some help (because I am mathematically challenged) to calculate the exact % of alcohol based on the chocolate itself, not the batch weight, and I may (if it comes to it) get my chocolates that contain alcohol tested to confirm that they indeed meet the requirements he outlined.  I'm also planning to have him (or someone from the board) cite the exact law that states the alcohol in food requirements, as I enlisted some help searching the rules and regs of the liquor control board and came up empty handed.  

 

Part of me feels like this is a guy wanting to strong arm me, but I also want to make sure I am following the law as it is the right thing to do.

 

Thoughts? Advice? Can anyone relate? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Need more numbers. Total ganache weight, amount of wine in that ganache.

Here come lots of assumptions.

Let's assume 60/40 chocolate/wine ratio. Also assume each chocolate weighs 12g, but 2g is the shells. Leaves 10g of filling, which is 4g of wine. Let's say 12% alcohol content in the wine, leaves you at 0.48g of alcohol, which is 4% of the total product weight.

 

Very rough figures, but I think you're going to be significantly higher than 0.5%.

 

Is it as simple as just relabelling correctly or is getting the alcohol license a pain in the butt?


Edited by keychris (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, YetiChocolates said:

  I explained to the person that most of my gananche batches have between 2-9% alcohol ... 

 

According to him there needs to be 0.5% or less alcohol content in order to bypass this license and labeling requirements, which I feel I meet, but has anyone else run into this?  

 

Which is it, 2-9% or under 1/2?  Or do you mean 2-9% of your ganache  by weight is a wine or liqueur that might only be 15-20% alcohol?  If 10% of your recipe is 40 proof (20% alcohol) spirits, doesn’t that make the whole recipe 2% abv?

 

Updating the labels is a pain but can probably be accomplished with a sticker.

 

Boozy chocolates came up elsewhere recently. Most states have strict rules, not just us.  

 

http://www.crowncandies.com/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/02/alcohol_confectionery.pdf

 

the above list is a few years old but says WA allows 1%, not half. I wonder if you could send a sample to the same labs that do all the cannabis testing. Or do you have any contacts at WSDA or your local health dept who could help you with the calculations?  


Edited by pastrygirl (log)
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a clarification, the wine ganache isn't necessarily the priority, it was just how I ended up in this mess in the first place.  

 

The issue is now whether my everyday ganaches are over or under the 0.5% alcohol content.

 

Pastrygirl, what I meant with the 2-9% is my ganaches with alcohol range in % of 2-9 per batch size. But that is not how much is in each chocolate.  For example, I have a ganache that I use Kahlua in and there is 9% Kahlua in the whole ganache batch, but only 2.5 grams go into each chocolate that I'm producing, so I would figure that there is less than 0.5% alcohol per chocolate.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, YetiChocolates said:

 

Pastrygirl, what I meant with the 2-9% is my ganaches with alcohol range in % of 2-9 per batch size. But that is not how much is in each chocolate.  For example, I have a ganache that I use Kahlua in and there is 9% Kahlua in the whole ganache batch, but only 2.5 grams go into each chocolate that I'm producing, so I would figure that there is less than 0.5% alcohol per chocolate.   

 

So in that example the kahlua ganache is only part of the piece?  There’s another layer of ganache and the shell? So the 2.5 grams might have 2% abv but it’s only a quarter of the truffle, making the whole finished piece 0.5%?

 

Can the LCB give you any guidelines on how they want you to calculate it?

 

if you are over the limit and you do want to continue,  looks like you need the grocery store with a snack bar license and alcohol in candy endorsement.   Edited to add -or maybe that’s only for the seller and there’s a different license for producers. The tasting room obviously already has a liquor license so LCB is looking at you as a producer. 

 

https://lcb.wa.gov/publications/licensing/forms/LIQ-180-Retail-Liquor_License-Endorsement-Descriptions-and-Fees.doc

 

Maybe you need the liquor producer license - is it worth $500?  

https://lcb.wa.gov/publications/licensing/forms/LIQ-181-Non-Retail-Liquor-License-Descriptions-and-Fees.doc

 

I hope it was a good event otherwise. :/ 


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

So in that example the kahlua ganache is only part of the piece?  There’s another layer of ganache and the shell? So the 2.5 grams might have 2% abv but it’s only a quarter of the truffle, making the whole finished piece 0.5%?

 

 

Essentially yes, it is a layered truffle with 2.5 grams being the Kahlua ganache and 3.6 grams being an espresso ganache with no alcohol.

 

I am hoping to get someone on the LCB to clearly define the rules/laws that they are wanting to enforce on us, because as of right now I can't seem to find anything specific, just what the guy told me over the phone.  I want the actual RCW he is quoting from because right now I feel there is some ambiguity, at least for me.

 

As for getting a Liquor Manufacture license, I do not believe it is worth it at all, but I also believe from what I've been told by others who've dealt with this particular enforcement agent before is that tries to make things as difficult as possible, which is fine if he wants to do that, as long as I'm well educated and understand the policies that he wants me to follow, which currently I do not.  

 

At the end of the day I don't want to have to list that I have alcohol in my truffles and that they can't be sold to minors because that will greatly affect my business.  I do not have a storefront and so I do wholesale with other businesses in town (that don't have liquor licenses) and set up a little pop up in the market in Wenatchee, and I feel I won't be able to continue selling at those establishments if I have to label my products as such, and if it takes getting my chocolates tested to show they are below the limit they are trying to define then that is what I will do.

 

@pastrygirl, so do you not have alcohol in any of the chocolates you produce?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, YetiChocolates said:

 

I am hoping to get someone on the LCB to clearly define the rules/laws that they are wanting to enforce on us, because as of right now I can't seem to find anything specific, just what the guy told me over the phone.  I want the actual RCW he is quoting from because right now I feel there is some ambiguity, at least for me.

 

As for getting a Liquor Manufacture license, I do not believe it is worth it at all, but I also believe from what I've been told by others who've dealt with this particular enforcement agent before is that tries to make things as difficult as possible, which is fine if he wants to do that, as long as I'm well educated and understand the policies that he wants me to follow, which currently I do not.  

 

@pastrygirl, so do you not have alcohol in any of the chocolates you produce?  

 

Ugh. I agree, the liquor license would not be worth it. This guy must have his own agenda or be on a power trip or something. It looked to me like the limit for WA is 1%, if he’s insisting it’s 0.5%, that definitely needs clarity. 

 

I use very little alcohol myself. I have a hazelnut truffle with about 125 g frangelico to 2 kg other stuff, that should be safe.  I might make a rum caramel bonbon or something every now and then but I’ve mostly lost my enthusiasm for alcohol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

@YetiChocolates this says 1% or less with a label is OK without a liquor license.

 

https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=66.12.160

 

 

 

So my boyfriend did some digging and discovered that the laws regulating confections got repealed last last year but unfortunately it appears it made things more stingent, as now it’s based on the Federal law which is 0.5% abv. I contacted an analytical company in Wenatchee and I’m taking a couple samples to get tested 🤞🏼.

 

But I do think the guy who started this is taking things way too far because he told another winery I had my chocolates at that I couldn’t even use vanilla extract in my chocolates...so then the winery owners were concerned because there is vanilla listed on the label because it’s a component of the chocolate itself.  I assured them I didn’t add any extra vanilla but holy cats!

  • Confused 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like it may be time to file a formal complaint with his boss.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, YetiChocolates said:

 

Essentially yes, it is a layered truffle with 2.5 grams being the Kahlua ganache and 3.6 grams being an espresso ganache with no alcohol.

 

 

How much kahlua is in the 2.5g? and what is the weight of the finished truffle?


Edited by keychris (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If my math is right - and your wine is max 12% abv - then your ganache at 30% wine is 3.6% ABV.  

 

What's the amount of Kahlua in 100 grams of ganache?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Kerry Beal said:

If my math is right - and your wine is max 12% abv - then your ganache at 30% wine is 3.6% ABV.  

 

What's the amount of Kahlua in 100 grams of ganache?

 

 

 

The the wine is 13.7 abv. 

 

The total amt of Kahlua in 100g of ganache is currently 9g. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey @Kerry Bealdoes pro-choc calculate alcohol content? I purchased the software but have yet to use it much because I was waiting on Guittard to get me spec sheets on their chocolates 


Edited by YetiChocolates (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, YetiChocolates said:

 

The the wine is 13.7 abv. 

 

The total amt of Kahlua in 100g of ganache is currently 9g. 

So 1.8 g of alcohol in 100 grams of ganache assuming 20% ABV - so 0.045 grams in the 2.5 but then we have 3.6 grams of the other ganache - so 0.045 grams in 6.1 grams - 0.74% again if my math is right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, YetiChocolates said:

Hey @Kerry Bealdoes pro-choc calculate alcohol content? I purchased the software but have yet to use it much because I was waiting on Guittard to get me spec sheets on their chocolates 

 

Not sure - let me fire it up and see.

 

Yup - looks like it does.

 

Send me the proportions for your wine ganache and I'll see if my math was anywhere close. Wine with 13% - 30 grams with 70 grams of 56% chocolate - 3.9% Your recipe works out to 4.1 with 13% ABV

 


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

So 1.8 g of alcohol in 100 grams of ganache assuming 20% ABV - so 0.045 grams in the 2.5 but then we have 3.6 grams of the other ganache - so 0.045 grams in 6.1 grams - 0.74% again if my math is right.

 

Good to know, given the rcw (state law) @pastrygirl cited earlier that would fall within the legal guidelines outlined...however there is some debate because another rcw that the current one cited was repealed last year and so the guidelines may have changed to 0.5%. 

 

I currently have the kahlua ganache at an analytics facility being tested so we’ll see what they come up with in their analysis. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could find something that said 1% - couldn't find the 0.5% amendment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

I could find something that said 1% - couldn't find the 0.5% amendment. 

 

So it was replaced by sub senate bill 6318 that then defers to 21 US Code

 

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/342

 

At least this was my boyfriends interpretation...


Edited by YetiChocolates (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

bears or contains any alcohol other than alcohol not in excess of one-half of 1 per centum by volume derived solely from the use of flavoring extracts,

 

it seems to be saying that you can have 0.5% of alcohol in your product that is only from "flavoring extracts" so I guess... like vanilla essence? Are the alcohols we use classified as flavoring extracts? Probably not.

 

But this page itself isn't talking about labelling, it's saying that what you're producing is classified as an adulterated food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if this helps but when I ran into the same issue, I included the shell weight in my calculations and BOOM I got under the threshold.  


Edited by DJ Silverchild (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, DJ Silverchild said:

I don't know if this helps but when I ran into the same issue, I included the shell weight in my calculations and BOOM I got under the threshold.  

 

 

So that is where it gets tricky IMO because according to the enforcement agent it doesn’t matter because it’s abv, but I think it should matter because as you’re eating the whole chocolate it gets diluted by the other components of the chocolate itself...

 

I’m chatting with a lawyer next week who’s pretty dialed on the LCB laws and will be contacting someone on the LCB that isn’t the enforcement agent so hopefully I’ll be able to find a reasonable solution to this problem. 


Edited by YetiChocolates (log)
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, YetiChocolates said:

So that is where it gets tricky IMO because according to the enforcement agent it doesn’t matter because it’s abv, but I think it should matter because as you’re eating the whole chocolate it gets diluted by the other components of the chocolate itself...


That's exactly what I would have thought as well. If you're eating the chocolate in it's entirety, then isn't the entirety of the chocolate the total volume? I can't imagine anybody is digging one layer out at a time and eating them individually. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×