May 15, 2008

Rectification of Distilled Spirits in On-Sale Premises

It has come to the attention of the Department that some on-sale licensees are exceeding their license privileges by engaging in rectification of distilled spirits in violation of Section 23355 of the Business and Professions Code.

Update: Modified by statutory amendment (Section 23016) effective September 21, 2011.

Disclaimer: The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regularly archives industry advisories for transparency and historical reference. However, the advisories may not necessarily reflect the current state of the discussed statute or regulation. Please consult the statute, regulation, and/or an attorney before taking any action to ensure compliance with the law.

Rectification is any process or procedure whereby distilled spirits are cut, blended, mixed or infused with any ingredient which reacts with the constituents of the distilled spirits and changes the character and nature or standards of identity of the distilled spirits.

One example of rectification is, but not necessarily limited to, creating products such as “lemoncello” or “limoncello” in which sugar and citrus products are combined with vodka and stored, initiating a maturation process which consequently changes the character and nature of the vodka, and possibly its alcohol content.

The simple mixing of alcoholic beverages with other ingredients for immediate consumption is not considered rectification.

If you have any questions regarding this advisory, please contact the Department’s Trade Enforcement Unit at (916) 419-2500.


Additional information may be obtained by contacting:

Alcoholic Beverage Control
3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834

Email us at
Call (916) 419-2500