The Beer Institute is a ye olde industry trade association whose members include American brewers of all sizes (as well as beer importers and beer industry suppliers). The Institute announced last week that it submitted comments to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the extension of the compliance date for the final ruling on “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments,” which has been pushed back to May 7, 2018. These comments stressed that consumers should be provided with the highest standard of information for alcohol beverages on menus for chain restaurants and other similar dining establishments.
“More than ever, consumers want to know as much information as possible about what they are eating and drinking. The Beer Institute and our member companies believe that providing complete information about calories and other nutritional information for each beverage will better enable consumers to make an informed decision when ordering beer, wine or a cocktail at restaurants and retail establishments. That is why we support listing the calories for each individual brand of beer, glass or bottle of wine, and each mixed drink made with hard liquor listed on an alcohol drink menu,” said Jim McGreevy, President and CEO of the Beer Institute. “We welcome the FDA’s continued dedication to providing consumers with accurate and comprehensive dietary information, and we look forward to continuing to work with government stakeholders to ensure that menu labeling requirements provide consumers with ample and specific information.”
To help restaurants comply with menu labeling requirements, the Beer Institute and its member companies in July 2016 independently spearheaded the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, through which participating brewers and importers will voluntarily include calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, freshness dating; and alcohol by volume (ABV) on all labels in the form of a serving facts statement, and disclose ingredients in products on either the label or secondary packaging via a list of ingredients, a reference to a website or a QR code.
Who’s supporting this? Mostly Big Beer.
Beer industry leaders including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance — which produce more than 81 percent of the volume of beer sold in the United States — have agreed to follow these guidelines.
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Nielsen, 72 percent of beer drinkers think it’s important to read nutritional labels when buying food and beverages. The Beer Institute’s full comments are available here.