The four top brewers—Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, Constellation Brands, and Heineken—have all agreed to add nutrition labels to their bottles by 2020, the Beer Institute trade group announced Tuesday. Collectively, that means 80 percent of American beer in the next few years will display data on calories, carbs, protein, fat, alcohol content, and even a freshness date and ingredients list.
The U.S. Treasury’s Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) announced back in 2013 that alcohol beverage companies were allowed to add serving facts to their labels, but a year later, only MillerCoors had taken them up on the offer—and only adding the details to Miller64 (presumably because it was marketed as a low-cal brew). Today, about a dozen of Miller's products—including Blue Moon—already have the info, while Anheuser-Busch offers it up on their website.
The new initiative is voluntary, so why has Big Beer decided to undertake the headache of re-designing their labels and going through the TTB approval process? Following in the footsteps of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's move to highlight added sugar on food labels, it seems the beer industry wants to give customers the transparency they’ve been asking for. The Beer Institute’s press release points to a recent poll by research firm Nielsen, which found 72 percent of beer drinkers think it's important to read nutritional labels when buying food and beverages.
And while it'll be helpful to disclose the nutrients and ingredients, it'll also help to have more transparency around higher alcohol brews. According to research from Mintel, 23 percent of beers launched globally in 2014 had an ABV of 6.5 percent or higher—important to track if you’re hoping to drive home after just one or two cold ones.
Considering alcohol is one of the biggest diet derailers, knowing how many calories and carbs you’re sucking down will be mega helpful. Until the new labels roll out, though, here’s the information for yourself.