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 2 in a series; to see others, click on the “serving facts” tag below.
- Miller supports the initiative as “appropriate and timely.” This is a not-so-common instance where the big alcohol beverage companies, the anti-alcohol groups, and the government are on the same side.
- TTB should allow the information to be shown in a smaller, linear format, rather than the larger, panel format. It will cost Miller about 14 times more (as much as $39 million) to show the information in the panel format. “The dramatically higher … deployment costs for the panel display are primarily the result of higher design … costs required to begin using the display panel, particularly on bottles of beer which would require additional label space that does not currently exist on millions of bottles.”
- TTB should not allow alcohol content to be presented by way of ounces of pure alcohol and should not allow any format other than percentage alcohol by volume.
- On many containers, such as kegs, the panel format will not fit. TTB should exempt kegs, or at least allow the linear format. TTB has successfully used the linear format, on light beer, for more than 30 years.
- TTB should resist any temptation to make alcohol beverage labels look like FDA food labels, because the products, purposes and effects differ greatly.
Is Miller right?