Will New Nutritional Rules Limit Craft Beer at Chain Restaurants?
Late next year, federal law will require restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to post nutritional info for all their menu items. This includes not only food, but drinks as well, including alcoholic beverages. The new regulations are leading some to speculate that chains might have to avoid keeping or adding some smaller craft beers in the process, a potential stall in the rapidly growing craft beer scene.
Though restaurants are the ones required to post this nutritional info, the burden of actually obtaining it falls on the breweries. As the New York Post reports, this lab work can be costly and time consuming, running a brewery $600 a pop followed by weeks of waiting for the results. For small craft breweries with large selections or seasonal rotations where beers constantly change, those hurdles might be too much to overcome. “It’s a big problem going forward,” Dave Lopez of NYC’s Gun Hill Brewing told the Post. “The only way it’s feasible is to limit what is available to consumers.” Paul Leone of the New York State Brewers Association agreed: “There’s no way they could afford to test every one of those brews.”
The theory is that if a small brewery is unable or unwilling to provide nutritional information about a beer, chain restaurants will simply move on to a brewery that can and will – though to what extent that will actually play out is yet to be seen. Even if craft brewers do decide it’s not worth the extra effort to appeal to chains by testing for nutritional data, it might be for the best. You don’t want to know just how many calories are in those IPAs you love anyway.