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  1. #1
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    lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    I recently purchased the worst beer i've ever tasted, Miller "Chill" and that has led me to make this post.

    Miller Chill is marketed towards a huge market, Hispanics. This beer is basically an all-in-one version copy of a Hispanic tradition of adding table salt and a wedge of lime to a can of beer.

    My question regarding Miller Chill and basically every other alcoholic drink with added ingredients is why there are no nutritional or ingredient listings.

    The Miller Chill label says that it is "Inspired by a Mexican recipe with lime and salt" and the only other statement is that it is "Miller Chill Light Beer with Natural Flavor"

    anyone tasting this would probably guess that the flavors don't taste "natural" and i sincerely doubt that they are adding real lime and real salt. Where are these "natural" flavors manufactured?

    Why shouldn't products like these have to carry nutritional and ingredient information? If there is added salt, isn't there an issue for people who have to watch sodium levels? If there are other things in there, shouldn't consumers be able to see them on the product?

    If we have it on other food products i don't see why these type of alcoholic hybrid don't have to.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  2. #2
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    Quote Originally Posted by NorCalBoozer View Post
    Miller "Chill"


    Seriously though, I think that it is because it is alcohol. If you have problems with sodium, you shouldn't be drinking in the first place. It's a vice, not something for the health concerned. I don't know what's in my can of Skoal, but I still chew it.

  3. #3
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    A while back there were quite a number of brewers who were trying to get an FDA nutritional label put on their product. The FDA said "Alcohol is bad and we don't approve bad food" If this has changed, I don't know, but I'd bet that BIG MONEY has at least managed to keep it optional.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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  4. #4
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    Back in the 1980's Anheuser-Busch tried to get the Government to require that ingredients be listed on beer labels.
    A-B was doing this to expose Miller Lite for their un-natural ingredients and brewing process.
    In 1977 A-B's answer to Miller Lite was Natural Light but it wasn't working.
    Miller got close to A-B in 1979/1980 to be the No. 1 brewer but never caught A-B.
    So A-B tried to get this label bill passed but all the other brewers, wineries and distilleries lobbied against it and killed it.
    ovh

  5. #5

    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    Quote Originally Posted by NorCalBoozer View Post


    Why shouldn't products like these have to carry nutritional and ingredient information?....If we have it on other food products i don't see why these type of alcoholic hybrid don't have to.
    The TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau- what used to be known as the ATF) is responsible in the US for labeling requirements on alcoholic beverages, so the rules are much different from the FDA's and many date from Repeal and the desire at the time to discourage any implication that alcohol is "food". There have been a number of cases over the years of labeling and advertising being banned due to some objectionable word or phrase. (Just take a look at the rules for example-
    http://www.ttb.gov/labeling/index.shtml ). For something as simple as alcohol content of beer which was banned for years, now that rule is simply "suspended" but, if a STATE requires or outlaws it, the state rather than the Federal rule is in efffect. (Rule 7.26 under "Malt Beverages").

    The move for nutritional labeling similar to food's has been around for a long time. The CSPI put out an interesting little paperback back in the mid-80's called "Chemical Additives in Booze" (complete with a chem lab beeker with a Miller Lite label on it on the cover <g>).

    Here's the official TTB answer in their FAQ on the current status of nutritional listings: http://www.ttb.gov/faqs/alf.shtml#alf4

    The part I've always liked the best is, while I understand producers not wanting to go to the expense of relabeling and commenting "NO", I'll never understand that of the seven* consumers, FIVE didn't want the information. Gee, who could those people have been (or work for)? "Uh, no thanks, I'd rather NOT known what's in that bottle of beer/wine/liquor."

    If you're looking for more info, there's also a "White Paper" pdf-
    http://www.ttb.gov/press/fy05press/1...whitepaper.pdf


    * 7! SEVEN!? Imagine if such a "public comment" request happened today in the internet age- would they get only SEVEN comments from consumers?)

  6. #6
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/spirits_rulemaking.shtml

    Current labeling guideline post requesting input from the TTB. This issue has never fully died.
    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Who brought the chips?

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    The issue of nutritional or ingredient labeling on beverage alcohol products comes up from time to time. There are some genuine complexities to the issue. Truthful ingredient labeling for bourbon whiskey, for example, could read something like this (remembering that ingredients must be listed by volume, in descending order):

    water, corn, rye, barley malt, yeast

    Does that really tell you anything? Anti-alcohol crusaders argue that all of the chemicals produced in the fermentation and distillation processes should be individually listed.

    We all know sugars, tannins and other substances from the oak barrel get into the spirit. Should those be broken down and listed, or should "oak" be listed as an ingredient?

    As for nutritional labeling, you could easily list calories. The values for most of the other items on a typical nutritional label would be zero for most beverage alcohol.

    As noted, many states actually prohibit brewers from putting alcohol content information on beers, the rationale being that some drinkers will use that information to seek out beers with the highest alcohol content, as if that's a bad thing.

  8. #8
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    The issue of nutritional or ingredient labeling on beverage alcohol products comes up from time to time. There are some genuine complexities to the issue. Truthful ingredient labeling for bourbon whiskey, for example, could read something like this (remembering that ingredients must be listed by volume, in descending order):

    water, corn, rye, barley malt, yeast

    Does that really tell you anything? Anti-alcohol crusaders argue that all of the chemicals produced in the fermentation and distillation processes should be individually listed.

    We all know sugars, tannins and other substances from the oak barrel get into the spirit. Should those be broken down and listed, or should "oak" be listed as an ingredient?

    As for nutritional labeling, you could easily list calories. The values for most of the other items on a typical nutritional label would be zero for most beverage alcohol.

    As noted, many states actually prohibit brewers from putting alcohol content information on beers, the rationale being that some drinkers will use that information to seek out beers with the highest alcohol content, as if that's a bad thing.
    I agree that it's complex and valid reasons exist, pro and con. I do find it interesting and I look forward to reading more of the information posted by others here.

    I could easily make arguments that some ways foods are labeled with ingredients are not as accurate as they could be. There will always be that degree of problem with labeling because it's handled by a government agency and their guildlines will not always be 100% what everyone wants.

    Are we better off with food labels now than we were 20 years ago without labels and nutritional info? I think we are. I don't think most people could imagine going into a store and picking up a food item and not knowing what it was made of or how much trans fat was in it. Not to mention known allergens.

    Many foods have sugar in them, but don't label it as an ingredient, because it wasn't an ingredient in the making of it, same for alcohol. However on the nutritional information it will reflect the sugar amount per serving.

    For standard distilled spirits you could simply have a designation like "Bourbon" and then create the guideline for that. Then it could be simple listed as "Bourbon". A consumer could look up "Bourbon" and read the standards of identity for it.

    However if we look at the other side of the spectrum of alcoholic beverages; things that are a combination of some typical alcohol and then some other food type ingredients, I think it's fair to know what they are. It's fair that if a food manufacturer has to label his product that it contains xanthan gum, that a beverage manufacturer should have to as well.

    If Miller Chill is really just beer and lime and salt why not list its ingredients as "Beer, lime, salt".

    If it got other crap in it like stabilizers, etc then maybe something like "Beer, xanthan gum, sodium, red dye#5, natural lime flavor, etc"

    I'm sure all those drinks, like Jack Daniels cocktails, Mississippi Mud, Hard Lemonade, etc, have juice and other crap in them. I'm going to check next time i see them in the store to see if any have labels on them.

    I think it's fair to know what else we are ingesting besides alcohol.

    In the brief amount of time i spent reading some of the literature from the posts above, i didn't read anything that says the manufacturer has to tell the consumer what's in a product even if the consumer contacts them directly.

    I am up in the air with this because i generally want government hands off business but at the same time there has to be some way for consumers to know what the hell they are ingesting, especially as more and more food related ingredients are being manufactured overseas due to cost savings.
    "That rug really tied the room together" -- Jeffery Lebowski

  9. #9
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    Re: lack of ingredients/nutritional info on alcoholic beverages

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    ...
    As noted, many states actually prohibit brewers from putting alcohol content information on beers, the rationale being that some drinkers will use that information to seek out beers with the highest alcohol content, as if that's a bad thing.
    Those states' regulatory agencies are more interested in a social agenda than an open disclosure of the bare facts as a way of ensuring consumers are able to make informed decisions. Decisions based on whatever criteria the consumer so chooses.

    In truth most of the labling laws were designed with the same goal in mind. Anti-fat crusaders and "food police" types pushing for detailed nutritional information. The difference is, having the information is never a bad thing, but withholding or preventing the disclosure of information is never a good thing. Even if withholding the information is done to further what the person believes to be a laudable goal. Kinda reminds me of Chuck's thread "Lying for a Worthy Cause".

    Promised Land Dairy is my favorite brand of milk. Its both richer in protein and butterfat because their entire herd is made up of Jerseys. Were it not for the nutritional information mandated on each glass bottle/jug I would have never known and concequently would have never tried any as it is quite pricey. Consumers selecting milk for maximum butterfat is probably not what the authors of the legislation had in mind.
    But sometimes "activists" inadvertently do the right thing for completely wrongheaded reasons.



    Quote Originally Posted by NorCalBoozer View Post
    ...

    I think it's fair to know what else we are ingesting besides alcohol.

    In the brief amount of time i spent reading some of the literature from the posts above, i didn't read anything that says the manufacturer has to tell the consumer what's in a product even if the consumer contacts them directly.

    I am up in the air with this because i generally want government hands off business but at the same time there has to be some way for consumers to know what the hell they are ingesting, especially as more and more food related ingredients are being manufactured overseas due to cost savings.
    I agree completely!!!!
    Last edited by ILLfarmboy; 11-29-2007 at 20:04.

 

 

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