Soon, beer bottles and cans will contain calorie counts.
On Tuesday, the hugely influential Beer Institute, a trade association, announced an initiative to encourage companies to display information such as calories, carbohydrates, and alcohol by volume on all beverage labels. The organization's members include Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and the Craft Brew Alliance, and they produce more than 81 percent of all beer, by volume, sold in the U.S.
The initiative additionally encourages beer makers to disclose beverage ingredients on labels or in secondary packaging or websites, and note a date of production to ensure freshness.
The Beer Institute said that consumers can expect to see new labels in the marketplace immediately. Brewers and importers are encouraged to revamp packaging across product lines by the end of 2020.
“I applaud the Beer Institute for encouraging its members to include valuable consumer information,” Tommy Thompson, former U.S. secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, said in a statement. “American consumers are more informed than ever, and they want to know about the food and beverages that they are eating and drinking.”
While in-depth nutrition labels are the norm in the wider food and beverage industry, alcoholic beverages typically include far less information. In 2013, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ruled that brewers could include further nutritional information on labels, but did not make these mandatory.
But in recent years, transparency has been one of consumers’ top priorities, and the government and companies have been taking notice.
In April, Mars Inc. began providing guidance on labels regarding what foods should be eaten only “occasionally,” in an effort to “promote healthier food choices.” In May, the White House and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a revamp of the standard nutrition label, intended to make the information easier for consumers to understand.