Beer manufacturers back voluntary labeling push

WASHINGTON — The packaged food you buy has a long list of nutritional information. So does soda. And soon, so will beer.

The Beer Institute, a trade association for the American beer brewing industry, has unveiled a series of videos that explain the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, aimed at giving consumers a comprehensive look at what’s in the beer they’re buying.

“The brewers and importers will voluntarily include a serving fact statement that lists calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol by volume on their beer labels,” Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, told WTOP.

The labeling will include a freshness date.

Beer brewers are not required by federal law to label nutritional content. Though the Beer Institute’s initiative is voluntary, six major brewers representing more than 80 percent of the beer sold by volume in the U.S. have committed to it, including Anheuser-Busch, Miller-Coors, Heineken USA, Constellation Brands, North American Breweries and The Craft Brew Alliance.

“We encourage our friends in the spirits and wine industries to follow suit here. We think this is a very important public policy and we think this provides information to consumers that they’re hungry to have,” McGreevy said.

Diageo plc, one of the largest spirits producers in the world whose brands include Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Johnnie Walker, announced in 2015 a commitment to include voluntary nutritional labeling on its products, and already does on some.

Participating beer brewers have committed to including the nutritional information labeling by the end of 2020.

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