TTB Ruling on Voluntary Serving Facts Statements for Alcohol Beverage Labels and Advertising

Last week, the TTB issued an interim policy (TTB Ruling No. 2013-2) allowing alcohol beverage producers to voluntarily use nutrient content statements –often referred to as  “Serving Facts statements ”– on labels and advertisements.  The TTB’s ruling is part of an almost decade-long review of the use of nutrient content statements on alcohol beverage labels and advertisements.
Exemplar from TTB of Serving Facts Statement for 750ML bottle of wine
(NOTE:  ABV and fl. oz of alcohol are optional)
Wine producers wishing to use Serving Fact statements on bottle labels should review the Ruling, and keep the following points in mind.
  1. Serving Facts statements include the following information:  serving size, the number of servings per container; and the number of calories, grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat per serving size.
  2. For wine of 7-16% ABV, the average serving size is 5 fluid ounces; for wine over 16% ABV but less than 24% ABV, the average serving size is 2.5 fluid ounces.
  3. The Serving Facts panel may include (but does not need to include) the percentage of alcohol by volume.  If the Serving Facts statement includes the ABV, then it may also include a statement of the number of ounces of alcohol per serving.  However, the inclusion of ounces of alcohol per serving does not relieve an industry member from their obligation to comply with other regulations regarding the disclosure of alcohol by volume.
  4. The tolerances and lab procedures for testing calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat content is laid out in TTB Procedure 2004-1.
  5. No new COLA is required for simply adding a Serving Fact panel to your already approved label.  In other words, you can simply add a neck or strip label to your already approved wine bottle label without submitting a new COLA application.
  6. The rulemaking process regarding the use of Serving Fact statements is still ongoing and producers should keep in mind that the TTB ruling is simply a temporary policy until the rulemaking process is completed.
The TTB’s decision to allow producers to include information regarding the fluid ounces of alcohol per serving is of particular interest to wine industry members.  The Wine Institute previously opposed the the inclusion of such information on Serving Fact statements, claiming that it would be confusing for consumers.  Other alcohol beverage industry members, primarily Diageo, have been outspoken in their support of alcohol-per-serving statements.
For more information or assistance on TTB labeling issues, contact John Trinidad ([email protected]).
This post is made available for general informational purposes only and none of the information provided should be considered to constitute legal advice
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