Tax Exempt Alcohol

Purchasing and use of tax free grain alcohol for laboratory research requires two permits: an Industrial Alcohol User Permit issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the Department of Treasury, and a permit to purchase and transport alcohol issued by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC).

  • EHS maintains George Mason University’s Industrial Alcohol User Permit from the TTB.
  • Individual units or departments must obtain a Permit to Purchase and Transport Alcohol from the ABC.

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How to Request a Copy of the TTB Permit

Industrial Alcohol User Permit is issued by the Department of Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to the university; there is a separate permit for each campus.  Industrial Alcohol User Permits are maintained by the EHS. Departments must submit a written request to with the following information to receive a copy of this permit:

  • Full Name
  • Title
  • Principal Investigator or Laboratory Supervisor (if different from the name listed above)
  • Department
  • Laboratory where alcohol will be used and stored
    • Campus
    • Building
    • Room Number

    Copies of the TTB permit will be sent to the requestor electronically once EHS has confirmed the identity of the requestor and verified a legitimate use of grain alcohol. Once a copy of the permit is received, it must be kept on file wherever the alcohol is used or stored.

How to Apply for a Virginia ABC Permit

Virginia ABC Permit issued by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control must be obtained by each department, or individual, seeking to purchase and/or transport grain alcohol. This permit is free of charge and must be renewed annually. There are two applications that must be completed, submitted, and approved by the state to permit the purchasing of grain alcohol:

  1. Application for a Permit to “Purchase Alcohol and/or Alcoholic Beverages”
    • This form must be completed, submitted, and returned prior to beginning the second form (Industrial Use Permitee Order and Permit for Transportation of Alcohol).
    • User must name George Mason University and their respective department (e.g., George Mason University / College of Science.)
    • User must list the address(es) where the deliveries will be made; separate permits are required for each physical address.
    • User must identify the use of the alcohol (generally scientific research), the type (proof) of alcohol, and the estimated annual quantity expected to be purchased.
  2. Application for “Special Transportation of Alcohol”
    • This form requires a permit number that is issued after the Application for a Permit to Purchase Alcohol and/or Alcoholic Beverages (first form above) is received.
    • Completed forms must be printed front to back on one page.
    • Users must verify that they may purchase specified quantities alcohol from the specified vendor and have it transported to the specific address designated on the first form.
    • Users must also include the number and kind of packages, and number and kind of individual containers, kind of alcohol and total amounts. Refer to the following example:
Number of PackagesKinds of PackagesNo. and Kind Individual ContainersType of AlcoholTotals
201 pint to 5 gallon glass, steel, plastic containers shipped in UN rated cardboard boxes32 x 1 pt glass containers
10 x 4L glass containers
10 x 5 gallon steel cans
10 x 5 gallon plastic jugs
200 proof alcohol for research not for consumption.112 gallons

Sign and date the bottom of this form and submit it to the state for verification. The state will complete the form with the assistance of the vendor and will return the original form when it is complete. Once you have received the original you are approved to purchase alcohol. This form must be renewed annually using the procedure above to continue purchasing grain alcohol. Both forms are available online:

Completed forms must be mailed to:

Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
P.O. Box 27491
Richmond, VA 23261-7491

Management of Grain Alcohol

Permits are only required for the tax-free purchase of alcohol. The following steps must be followed to order and manage inventory of grain alcohol:

  • Upon receipt of a package of alcohol, the package should be inspected for any damage. If there is any evidence of leakage, the Chemical Safety Manager should be contacted. The outside of the package should be dated with date of receipt.
  • All grain alcohol should be placed in a secure and lockable flammable storage cabinet. This cabinet should be kept locked except when accessing material.
  • A written continuous log on material in storage should be maintained. The quantity and date of receipt should be recorded in the log when the alcohol is first placed into storage. When a new container of alcohol is needed, the size of the container and the date of receipt of alcohol removed from the flammable storage locker should be noted on the log. The date when the container is first opened should be noted on the outside of the container. In order to maintain an accurate inventory, grain alcohol should not be shared with other laboratories.
  • Opened containers should be returned to the flammable storage cabinet when not in use.
  • Empty containers should be disposed of with regular laboratory refuse. All labels should be removed, or the contents should be conspicuously marked out with an indelible marker.

Storage of Grain Alcohol

All departments and individuals who purchase grain alcohol must securely store the alcohol in accordance with 27CFR22.92. Secure the storage facilities from unauthorized access at all times, and lock when unattended. Records of receipt, use, and loss must be maintained and logged at the address on file.  All grain alcohol should be stored in a locked flammable storage cabinet to ensure safe and secure storage.