It is likely that all beer, wine and spirits labels will change dramatically in the near future. 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 13 in a series; to see others, click on the “serving facts” tag below.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS) is a trade association representing spirits producers and marketers. DISCUS submitted a 14-page comment, plus 6 pages of footnotes and a 61-page survey making these points:
- Some DISCUS members market wine and beer, so DISCUS has a broad perspective.
- DISCUS opposes the proposed Serving Facts panel, whether required or optional. It will not provide sufficient information unless it explains that a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol, and explains standard serving sizes for beer, wine and spirits. Anything less would force consumers into “guesswork.”
- “It is without doubt [that this rule] is one of the most significant undertakings by the Bureau in the last 20 years.”
- TTB should provide more flexibility, especially for small containers, to allow the information to be conveyed by a linear format, or an 800 number, or a website.
- TTB should allow a five-year rather than a three-year phase in, due to the scope of this rule.
- A survey of 1,221 adults found that 61% support nutrition labels on beverage alcohol . 69% rated “alcohol content per serving” as most important and 85% consider the definition of a standard drink helpful.