ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
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Non-Alcoholic Beer Regulation 101

As part of the general move to better-for-you beverages, non-alcoholic (NA) options have been and will likely continue to be on the rise. However, how NA is treated, or not treated, as “beer” has significant impact on its potential route to market. The below summarizes the overall treatment of NA beer under US federal law, as well as examples of restrictions on direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments imposed by certain states. FEDERAL TREATMENT OF NA BEER Tax Treatment: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) regulations define “beer” as a fermented beverage containing 0.5% or more alcohol by volume (ABV) and brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute for malt. (See: 27 C.F.R. § 25.11.) The regulations refer to a malt beverage containing less than 0.5% ABV as a “cereal beverage.” (See: 25.11.) Because NA beer contains less than 0.5% ABV, TTB will not treat it as a “beer” under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), and...

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Proposed FDA Labeling Revisions Would Impact Wines Below 7 Percent ABV and Certain Non-Malt Beers

On March 3, 2014, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that, if and when finalized, would make important changes to the labeling of all foods subject to FDA's primary labeling jurisdiction.  While most alcohol beverages fall under the primary labeling authority of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), wines below 7 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and beers containing no malted barley or no hops fall within the scope of FDA's primary labeling authority. The NPRM seeks to adjust FDA's labeling and related rules to address certain concerns about the American diet, particularly the so-called obesity epidemic.  As such, it aims to increase and improve the amount of labeling information about critical attributes like calories and the addition of sugars to food.  FDA's proposed regulations would: Put a greater emphasis—with larger and bolder type—on calories.  FDA believes the number of calories is...

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