The Beer Institute, the national trade association for brewers across the country, recently spearheaded a new initiative that will encourage brewers to voluntarily disclose a brew's nutrition profile on each can or bottle by 2020. The nutrition profile will include calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol by volume. The Brewers' Voluntary Disclosure Initiative details the suggested provisions, which includes freshness dating, a full ingredient list, and a website that contains the nutrition information. These proactive measures, which are not required by law but rather required to maintain membership in The Beer Institute, validate the current health movement towards nutrition transparency and labeling. This will effect beer leaders including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA and many more who have agreed to follow the standards put forth by The Beer Institute.
The Beer Institute cites a recent survey published by the Harris Poll® on behalf of Nielsen, validating their new position on nutrition labeling and transparency. It states that about 3 out of every 4 beer drinkers participating in the poll believe, "it’s important to read nutritional labels when buying food and beverages".
This proactive step by The Beer Institute is big news for the beer world, however it was highly anticipated by those operating in the restaurant industry. This is mostly due to the recent developments in the deadlines set forth by congress regarding Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 4205 requires restaurant groups of 20 locations or greater to include caloric information on the menu for each food item with a compliance deadline on May 5, 2017. The movement towards beer nutrition labeling is a natural next step in regulation, or even more importantly, consumers' preferences when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices.
Accurately storing and displaying nutrition data will be a challenge for nationwide restaurant groups and brewers, alike. Although the timeline is closing in for restaurant groups to comply with nutrition transparency, it appears the The Beer Institute is proactively challenging their members to move ahead of legislation. This will give brewers a longer timeline for tackling the compliance in an effective and cost-friendly way. In 2017, beer labels will be a leading indicator for which brands are leading the charge in nutrition transparency.