In the last post we discussed Braille wine labels. Today, Morse Code, as on this Australian wine label. Morse Code was invented in the 1840s and is an early form of the digital encoding so widespread today. As with many of the Braille labels, the Morse Code label here does not seem to explain the message embedded in the code. Does TTB require it? Should TTB require it? Finally, who can decode this? For the energetic, there is a decoder here.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
alcohol beverages generally
Above is an example of a wine label embossed with Braille. Such labels were virtually unavailable before about 13 years ago. Then, in 1996, M. Chapoutier of France begain using Braille on all its labels. The British newspaper, The Independent explains:
The technique is the same as printing visible labels: an iron Braille negative is pressed onto the back of the paper label to make the Braille bumps. Mr. Chapoutier decided to use his 40-year-old printing machine to make every one of the 2.5 million bottles of wine he produces each year. They have proved a success … . As fewer than 20,000 of the one million registered blind and partially sighted people in the UK can read Braille, other methods are also being urged including the use of audio-tapes, large print and computer disks.
The article explains that bleach and eye drops are the only other UK products imprinted with Braille. It would seem that the Braille text should be covered on the TTB label approval, just like English letters, or any other language such as Japanese. And yet we have flipped through quite a few label approvals with Braille and very few mention Braille on the label approval.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
What do these three things have in common? All three are featured in Brad Paisley’s song, “Alcohol.” Of all the songs about alcohol beverages, this one is worth covering, because it mentions specific brands and deals directly with the interplay of alcohol and society. It also has witty lyrics. It would be even better for this blog if it dealt specifically with a legal topic, but perhaps that’s asking too much of Mr. Paisley. Here are the most pertinent lyrics:
Well I’ve been know to cause a few breakups And I’ve been known to cause a few births I can make you new friends Or get you fired from work
I got blamed at your wedding reception For your best man’s embarrassing speech And also for those naked pictures of you at the beach I’ve influenced kings and world leaders
I am medicine and I am poison I can help you up or make you fall
The song does a good job of putting the good and bad in perspective.Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Quite a few readers have said, “yeah, unusual approvals are great, but what about rejections?” Here we have the first post of many, from time to time, showing common or revealing label rejections. First, some ground rules. We will not show the brand or company at issue. TTB tends to treat label rejections as confidential and approvals as public, and we’ll mirror this sensible policy. To this end, we may blur out some identifying information where necessary, such as above. In rare cases, we’ll change a little bit of text (in the example above we changed about three letters to avoid the distraction that might otherwise be caused by typos; we did not change the substance). If you have a good and interesting rejection, please let us know and we’ll make sure to treat it in line with the policy above. On to the controversial term at hand. For many decades, TTB has been concerned about the term “refreshing,” so common on all manner of beverages. TTB’s concern seems to be that it’s awfully close to a therapeutic claim, suggesting an effect on your body. “Invigorating” or “stimulating” would go a bit further and probably raise the same issues. Rather than ban the term “refreshing” outright — which would seem a bit out of proportion to the...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
We got to thinking that the much-ballyhooed swimsuit issue, published in Sports Illustrated every winter, might shed some light on trends in the economy, alcohol beverage advertising, and print advertising more generally. In the past, the swimsuit issue has been a prime place for beer and spirits advertising. This year’s issue is 178 pages, chock full of bikinis. Only 7.3 pages are devoted to alcohol beverage ads. This is nearly a 50% drop off from two years ago, when the economy (and print advertising) were flying a lot higher. A big part of this is due to one brand. Budweiser advertising was at seven pages in 2007 and down to a skimpy two pages in 2009. Almost all of the 2009 ads seem to be customized for the swimsuit edition. Back in 2007, it was about half and half. There is essentially no wine advertising in any of these three issues, and beer accounts for 2/3 while spirits are at about 1/3. Herewith, two of the better alcbev-centric ads tailored to this magazine.
The text on this Glenlivet Scotch ad may be hard to read, and is worth repeating. It says:
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THE GLENLIVET was ESTABLISHED when SWIMWEAR was a lady’s SAFEGUARD from the elements. Back in 1824, even the SLIGHTEST display of ANKLE could put the FIRE in...
It is likely that all beer, wine and spirits labels will change dramatically in the near future. TTB Administrator John Manfreda confirmed this in a recent speech. TTB has been working on new rules since CSPI and other groups submitted a petition in 2003. The new rules would require a “Serving Facts” panel on every container. This panel would include a lot more information, such as the typical serving size, number of servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Because this is a big, controversial change, TTB has received more than 18,000 public comments during the past few years. There are far too many comments for most people to review, and so we will highlight and summarize the most noteworthy comments here. The most recent proposal and comments are here. This is comment 21 in a series; to see others, click on the “serving facts” tag below. Michael Taylor (on behalf of Diageo) submitted a 4 page comment. It said:
- Diageo hired Mr. Taylor in 2005 and he’s currently a research professor at George Washington University. From 1991-1994 he was FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy and was actively involved in setting the comparable rules for foods more generally.
- I am disappointed that TTB will not require reference to a “standard drink.”
- The Dietary Guidelines...