Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nutritional content on beer labels?

The Washington Post ran a story today about proposed beer labeling requirements.

For the past several months, the government has been asking breweries to comment on requirements that labels should include nutritional and alcohol percentages. Beers of greater than 10% abv (alcohol by volume) might also be required to have the number of serving sizes of 5 or 6 oz listed. (6 ounces makes more sense.)

Some of this might be construed as government backlash towards the rampant alcohol augmentation occurring in craft beer. For example, a 12-oz beer at 18% abv is huge compared to a beer of 5% - in terms of alcohol, calories, etc.

Several states, such as North Carolina, already require indication of alcohol percentage by volume to be placed on a beer's label, if not other nutritional content. The predicate analysis must come from an independent laboratory, even for breweries with the necessary (expensive) lab testing equipment. Charges range from $75 -$100 for an analysis of alcohol, calories, protein, and carbohydrates.

Until the mid-1990s, the government ironically forbade breweries from listing the alcohol percentage on beer bottles while, at the same time, requiring wineries to do so!

The Post's beer column on beer appears bi-monthly in the Wednesday Food Section. It's written by Greg Kitsock, who is also the editor of the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News and the American Brewer Magazine.

Pictured are (l-r):
Greg Kitsock,
Nick Matt (pres. Matt Brewing Co.),
Steve Frank (Brews Brothers, columnist Mid-Atlantic Brewing News)

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