Alcoholic beverages have had this regulatory quirk where, even though they are considered foodstuffs, they are not required to have nutritional fact labels or ingredients lists. The reason for this is because alcoholic beverages are regulated by the TTB instead of the FDA. To date, the TTB has not put any major pressure on alcohol producers to label their products – but thanks to the largest trade association in the business, you may start to see nutrition facts for alcohol becoming widespread.
Earlier this month, the Beer Institute announced “The Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative,” which aims to label beers with nutritional information – including a list of ingredients, serving size, calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein, and ABV.
As for how these labels should look, the Beer Institute is leaving that up to the individual breweries. The guidelines indicate that nutritional disclosures can appear as a label on the bottle, a reference to a website, or a QR code. Since the information provided is meant to be voluntary, the types of information disclosed will vary. For example, I can imagine lots of breweries not wanting to include an ingredients list.
Members of the Beer Institute are being encouraged to achieve compliance with the initiative by 2020. Several major breweries have already agreed to follow these guidelines, including:
- Constellation Brands Beer Division
- North American Breweries
- Craft Brew Alliance
Collectively, these breweries produce more than 81% of the volume of beer sold in the US – so you can expect other breweries to follow suit to stay competitive in the market.
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