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Beer Label Requirements

If you are thinking about designing a new label for your beer bottle, then there quite a few decisions you must be weighing.  Unbeknownst to many new beer makers are the numerous different rules and regulations when it comes to what information has to be on the label.  The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), is very strict about how producers can label and market their beer.  Navigating these rules and regulations can be quite difficult and cumbersome.  This article will help lay out the most important provisions found within these federal laws and regulations.

First and foremost the following statement is required on all beverages containing 0.05% or more alcohol by volume.  "Government Warning: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects.  (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems." 

Alcoholic content must be included on the label and expressed in terms of "percent alcohol by volume." To be labeled "non-alcoholic," the alcoholic content must be below 0.5 % by volume. To be labeled "reduced alcohol," the alcoholic content must be below 2.5 % by volume.  Also, the phrase "contains less than 0.5 % alcohol by volume" must be included.  To be labeled "alcohol free," there must be no alcohol in the beverage.

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The TTB requires the name and address of a "producer/bottler" or "packer" to appear on the label.  For domestic beers, the TTB allows breweries to use either the company's name plus the city and state where the beverage is bottled or packed or the city and state of the bottler/packer's principal place of business.  If you outsourced the bottling to someone else, you don't have to say who bottled it, unless state law requires it.  You would substitute "bottled by" with "distributed by" and add your company's information.  For imported beers, the name and address of the importer must appear on the label.

If the beer contains any food allergens or the beer is bottled in a plant that has any food allergens, then it must be stated on the beer label.  These food allergens include; milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.  Also, if the beer contains sulfites, color additive cochineal extract, color additive carmine, FD&C Yellow No. 5 or aspartame there must be a statement that the product contains these ingredients.

Be sure to consult local state laws in regards to label requirements.  State laws regarding beer label requirements can vary from state to state.  For more information about beer label requirements access the BAM (Beverage Alcohol Manual) here. 

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Topics: Beer Labels beer bottle labels
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