Beer Biggies Agree To List Calories, Carbs & (Maybe) Ingredients On Bottles

Image courtesy of Xavier J. Peg

While light (or “lite,” if you don’t care about spelling) beers often advertise their low calorie/carb content, most beers don’t have anything similar to the nutrition labels you see on other food and beverage packaging. This morning, a beer industry trade group announced a voluntary labeling standard that will add some of this information to beer packaging while allowing other data to be accessible via barcode.

According to the Beer Institute — a nickname that many an American could have given to their alma mater — this new “Voluntary Disclosure Initiative” will prove beer buyers with information that is currently absent from many beer bottles and cans: calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. It will also detail the serving size of the beverage.

The alcohol by volume percentage — already included on most beer — will be integrated into the new label. These beers will also be given a “freshness date” or “date of production.”

Where the label will differ greatly from standard nutrition labels is the ingredients list. The voluntary standard does allow participating brewers to actually list a beer’s ingredients, but it also allows beer makers to simply tell customers to go to a website or scan a barcode to access the ingredient list.

The labeling standard is voluntary, but the Beer Institute says its member organizations — which include Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries, and Craft Brew Alliance — have agreed to follow these standards. That would put the new labels on around 4-in-5 beers sold in the U.S.

No timeline was given for when consumers could expect to see these labels in the real world.