Requirements for Labeling Beer Bottles
Breweries and liquor distributors know that getting your malt beverage from the brewery into the customer’s hands can be tedious. Approvals are required for every beer label design and the requirements are overwhelming. At BR Printers, we serve companies all over the U.S. by printing eye-catching labels every day. This article covers the information you need to include on your beer labels before you send them off for label printing.
Before you worry about the design of your beer labeling, you’ll have to receive a brewer’s notice from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, also known as the TTB. This is required for breweries to sell malt beverages. When you have a beer ready to bottle, you’ll need to design a beer bottle label and get approval from the TTB under the Certificate of Label Approval (COLA). Then it’s time to print!
Beer Label Requirements for all Beer Labels
The requirements below apply to all beer labels, regardless of state laws, specific ingredients or additives. For specific details regarding text requirements, approved verbiage, and to see the official requirements for beverage labels check the TTB’s Beverage Alcohol Manual. This article is simply a summary of important requirements covered in the Beverage Alcohol Manual. If you’re interested in learning about the requirements for labeling wine bottles, check out our related article.
This is the name that your beer is branded under which can include the age, origin, identity, or other characteristics of the alcoholic beverage. Your brand name must appear on the front of your label and be in a legible font, on a contrasting background, and away from other information.
Class & Type Designation
This is the malt beverages’ identity name. Common class and type designations are stout, lager, and ale. The Beverage Alcohol Manual covers all approved designation names. The class and type designation must also be on the front of the beer bottle label, be in a legible font, on a contrasting background, and away from other information.
Name & Address of Producer/Bottler
The name and address of the producer or bottler must be shared after the phrase: “brewed and bottled/packed by”, “brewed by”, or “bottled/packed by”. For domestic beverages, the name and address must be on the front of the label or branded into the container. On imported beverages, the name and address can appear anywhere on the brand label. The font must be legible, on a contrasting background, and be separate from other information.
The net contents of your container must be in American measures but it’s optional to also include the net contents in metric measures. The net contents can be on the front of the brand label or branded into the container, must be in a legible font, on a contrasting background, and must be away from other information.
A health warning is specific and required for all alcoholic beverages. The text can appear anywhere on the bottle, be in a legible font, on a contrasting background, and be away from other information. There are very specific rules for how many words are on a line, size of the text, an which words are bolded. The warning must have this exact copy:
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.
Beer Label Requirements for Imported Beverages
For imported beverages, the country of origin must be included on the label. Legibility and location of the country of origin is not regulated. The country of origin must be displayed in one of the following ways:
“PRODUCT/PRODUCE OF _____________”
“PRODUCED/BREWED IN” or “PRODUCED/BREWED AND BOTTLED OR PACKED IN _____________”
“PRODUCED/BREWED BY” or “PRODUCED/BREWED AND BOTTLED OR PACKED BY _____________”
Or “___________ ALE”
Beer Label Requirements for Specific Ingredients
Disclosures of specific ingredients are required for FD&C Yellow#5, Saccharin, Sulfite, and Aspartame. Disclosures can appear anywhere on the label, must be in a legible font, on a contrasting background, and away from other information. The required declarations are below.
FD&C Yellow #5
“CONTAINS FD&C YELLOW #5″
“USE OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS SACCHARIN WHICH HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO CAUSE CANCER IN LABORATORY ANIMALS.”
“CONTAINS SULFITES” or “CONTAINS (A) SULFITING AGENT(S)”
“PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.”
Optional Beer Label Information
The requirement of alcohol content is based on State laws. If alcohol content is required by state laws, it can be placed anywhere on the label. The content statement options are:
“ALCOHOL (ALC)__% BY VOLUME (VOL)”
“ALCOHOL (ALC) BY VOLUME (VOL)__%”
“__% ALCOHOL (ALC) BY VOLUME (VOL)”
Or “__ % ALCOHOL (ALC)/VOLUME (VOL)”
Many breweries and liquor distributors choose identifying their beer as lite, light, or low carb. If this is true about your malt beverage and you choose to include these descriptions on your label, you must also include a statement of average analysis.
Draft or Draught
You have the option to describe your malt beverage as draft or draught if it hasn’t been pasteurized.
Time to Get Printing
Now that your labels align with requirements, they’re ready to print. Fill out our contact form and we’ll connect you with a labels rep to help you make the right label production choices based on the uniqueness of your product, the quantity you need, and how fast you need them. Find more details and requirements from the TTB (U.S. Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau).
Based in San Jose, CA, BR Printers is a provider of print and marketing services. We print shipping labels, medical labels, food labels, and more! Our print and marketing capabilities offer solutions for every business in every industry.