In New York, do I need nutrition facts on my label?


In New York, do I need nutrition facts on my label?

At the federal level, alcoholic beverages below 7% ABV are regulated by the FDA and not the TTB. This includes most hard ciders, hard sodas, hard lemonade and hard iced tea. It also includes alternatives and low alcohol wines.

FDA label laws require nutrition facts labels unless the craft beverage producer qualifies for an exemption as a small business having less than 100 full time equivalents, and produces less than 100,000 units of product per year. Most craft beverage producers can qualify for this exemption by signing an exemption form.

If you do need to have nutrition facts on your label, here is what you need to know:

Labels of bottled or otherwise packaged beers that are subject to FDA’s labeling must bear:

(1)  on the principal display (usually front label) panel: a statement of identity. The statement of identity can be similar to the statement of composition that is required for certain malt beverages under the FAA Act regulations such as “Beer made from sorghum” or “Sorghum Beer”;
(2) an accurate statement of the net quantity of contents in inch/pound units (e.g., 12 fl oz). The statement of the net quantity of contents must appear in the lower 30 percent of the principal display panel. The type size used for the net quantity of contents statement is dependent on the size of the principal display panel. (We also recommend that manufacturers declare net quantity of contents statement in metric units in addition to inch/pound units);
(3) the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor (e.g., Imported by ABC Brewers, Chicago, IL 52705 or bottled by ABC Brewers, Rochester, NY 14624).
(4) in the statement of ingredients: the common or usual name of each ingredient if the product is made from two or more ingredients, in descending order of predominance by weight (e.g., Ingredients: sorghum, water, rice, yeast, molasses, FD&C Yellow No. 5). This includes specific statements about the following ingredients: (a) name of any chemical preservatives present and a description of the function of the preservative (e.g., Ingredients:  sorghum, water, rice, yeast, molasses, ascorbic acid to promote color retention); (b) any added coloring, and (c) added flavor, such as any spices, natural flavors, or artificial flavors; and
(5) nutrition labeling unless exempt as described above.

All of the FDA mandatory label information must appear either on the principal display panel or the information panel (to the side of the front display panel) unless otherwise specified by FDA regulation. Furthermore, all information appearing on the information panel must appear in one place without other intervening text or images.

Labelling can be tricky, especially for alcoholic beverage producers. For some products, you may need to follow FDA guidelines and for other products you may need to follow TTB guidelines. In both cases, advertising laws, intellectual property laws, and state alcoholic beverage laws will apply. In some situations, there may even be environmental regulations concerning recyclable materials and/or bottle deposits.

Luckily there are professionals available to help guide you through the process. Once you learn your way around the applicable regulations, you’ll be your own in-house go-to person. You have started your training by learning some of the basic rules for low alcohol content beverages.



                                              About Tracy Jong

Tracy_JongTracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed intellectual property and patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a monthly publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.

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