The new panels featuring info on calories and carbs will hit shelves next month.

By Mike Pomranz
January 11, 2019
Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch

It’s been so conspicuously absent for so long, it’s amazing it doesn’t feel more glaring: Practically all packaged food and beverage products are required to display Nutrition Facts panels — even water — and yet, for the vast majority of beers, even basic info like the ingredients and number of calories are nowhere to be found. However, as Americans have pushed for more transparency, the tide began to turn for booze as well, and in 2016, a group of the largest beer companies in the country agreed to start putting their spin on Nutrition Facts — which was billed as “Serving Facts” — on beer by 2020. Today, literally the biggest name in the biz — America’s top-selling beer brand, Bud Light — announced it will be adding that info on its packaging.

Hitting shelves next month, the new labels — which Bud Light bills as an industry first — feature a list of “Ingredients” up top, followed by the “Serving Facts” below, using a design and font nearly identical to a Nutrition Facts panel. Included in those facts are calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, total carbs, total sugars, added sugars, and protein.

“While ingredient labels are not required, consumers deserve to know more about their beer. We brew Bud Light with the finest ingredients and we’re happy to proudly display them on our packaging,” said Andy Goeler, VP of Marketing for Bud Light. “When people walk through a store, they are used to seeing ingredient labels on products in every aisle, except for the beer, wine and spirits aisle. As the lead brand in the category, we believe increasing on-pack transparency will benefit the entire beer category and provide our consumers with the information they expect to see.”

For now, the labels are only being added to the outside “secondary packaging” — a.k.a. the cardboard box the cans come in and not the cans themselves. Still, as the brand mentions, adding this information is a voluntary decision and not required by law, so any step would seem to be in a positive direction.

And anyway, at first blush, finally seeing this information on beer packaging is far from off-putting. With just four simple ingredients and no fat or sugar, the Serving Facts makes Bud Light seem downright healthy. Granted, I don’t want to get into a debate about whether beer actually can be good for you or not, but after going so long without this kind of labeling, at the very least, the information these new panels hold is far from shocking.

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