July 12, 2016
Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 207-2832
Washington, DC–For decades, the National Consumers League (NCL) has been fighting to get nutritional information, specifically an “Alcohol Facts Label” on all alcoholic beverages sold in the US. Consumers very much want this information and have come to rely on nutritional facts labeling on foods they consume.
Consistent with this theme, NCL is pleased that a new initiative from the Beer Institute will mean that participating companies will display specific consumer information on products, packaging or websites. Entitled “Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative,” the participants in the initiative make up 81 percent of the beer industry in the US. These companies will voluntarily include a serving facts statement on their products, and will disclose ingredients on either the label or secondary packaging via a list of ingredients, a reference to a website with the information or through a QR code.
“The Beer Institute initiative is a milestone; beer is the most popular alcohol beverage in the United States, and having nutritional information on beer labels is a game changer,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s Executive Director. “We applaud the Beer Institute’s leadership for rolling out the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, which will list calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol by volume on their beer products.”
The serving facts statement is consistent with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB) ruling 2013-2. In addition, participants in the voluntary agreement will provide freshness dating, and disclose ingredients via a list, a reference to a website with the information, or a QR code on the label or secondary packaging. Beer Institute member companies, including industry leaders such as Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries, and Craft Brew Alliance, have agreed to follow these standards. These companies together produce more than 81 percent of the volume of beer sold in the U.S.
While NCL applauds the Beer Institute’s initiative, Greenberg noted that there are some missed opportunities in the announcement: providing alcohol content information and acknowledging the validity of the standard drink definition, as defined in the US Dietary Guidelines issued by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Those guidelines provide consumers with equivalencies in comparing beer, wine and spirits. Namely, that the average 12 oz of beer, average 5 oz of wine, and average 1.5 oz of spirits all contain the equivalent amounts of alcohol. Given the many positive aspects of the Beer Institute’s initiative today, NCL is urging the industry to embrace this common-sense definition of a standard drink as well.
“Thanks to the leadership of the Beer Institute and its members, consumers can look forward to having much sought nutritional information available for the first time on the label of the beer they consume. This is an encouraging and welcome development,” said Greenberg.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.