The Next Frontier in Nutrition Labeling...

I've often wondered why nutrition facts for alcoholic beverages remain a mystery. 

Apparently the tide - and the law - is turning. Diageo, the world's largest spirits company with brands like Guiness, Johnny Walker, Crown Royal and Smirnoff, announced this week that it will give consumers the nutrition information many consumer advocates have long been seeking.

From Diageo's press release:

"...it has begun shipping cases of Crown Royal which include macro-nutritional information on the product. This is the first alcohol beverage brand to include a serving facts panel on its packaging. The panel details serving size, number of servings per container, alcohol by volume, number of calories and grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving – and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines definition of a standard drink – 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol."

This nutrition information will appear on labels and packaging.

As we take a closer look, we also learn that this has been in the works for some time. 

Again, from their press release:

"Twelve years ago, Diageo led the industry in the US when it stood with a coalition of consumer and public health advocates to publicly ask US regulators to allow Serving Fact information on beverage alcohol products. In 2013 the US Treasury’s Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved that request, finally allowing labels that include serving size, number of servings per container, alcohol by volume, number of calories and grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving. Since that time, the TTB has approved a label that specifically references the US Dietary Guidelines, which defines a drink as being 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol."

So it wasn't until 2013 that alcohol labels could even include this information.  The announcement about their commitment to provide this information, made earlier this year, can be found here.

This is exciting and welcome news, and of course makes one wonder how soon other alcohol companies will follow suit.  Nutrition facts for alcohol has certainly been a missing link for advocates and consumers alike.  Along with newly required menu labeling, this gets us one step closer to more fully understanding how to navigate a dizzying array of choices in both the food and beverage aisles.