BEER AND WINE TRADE GROUPS PUSH GOV’T TO DITCH “ALL DRINKS ARE EQUAL” CLAIMS
Source: Wine & Spirts Daily
May 18, 2015
The beer trade groups have long been opposed to the definition of one drink as: 12 fluid ounces of beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol) and 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol).
This week, trade groups including the Beer Institute, Brewers Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association , plus the Wine Institute, launched an offensive to ditch the definition in a letter to Angela Tagtow of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Don Wright of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report (DGAC Report), as reported by sister publication Beer Business Daily.
“There is a particular problem with the drink definition box on page 21 of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines in its use of the phrase, ‘one drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol,'” write the trade groups. Note, the 2010 DGAC Report was the last one released.
“While it is true that a 12 fluid ounce serving of 5% ‘regular’ beer, a 5 fluid ounce serving of 12% wine, and a 1.5 fluid ounce serving of 80 proof (40%) hard liquor may contain about the same amount of alcohol, a beer, a glass of wine and a mixed drink do not always contain the exact same amount of alcohol and are not always served in these exact sizes.”
The groups also note that both the TTB and the FDA agree that “not all drinks are the same.” They write: “In its ruling on menu labeling FDA makes clear that because mixed drink recipes vary so much, advice to consumers cannot present all alcohol as the same or a mixed drink as a simple multiple of a base serving as you might with a scoop of ice cream.”
As such, the groups suggest the 2015 report should:
- Omit the drink definition box on page 21 of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, and in particular, the misleading phrase ‘one drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol.’
- Avoid including examples that attach ABV to specific serving sizes in order to suggest that beer, wine and hard liquor are always equal or that a beer, a glass of wine or a drink made with hard liquor always contain the exact same amount of ethyl alcohol.
- Advise consumers that a good way to moderate consumption is to know the alcohol content of their drink, especially when it comes to mixed drinks, where the strength or amount of alcohol in the drink varies.
- Inform consumers that not all drinks are the same, and that not every commonly served mixed drink contains exactly the same amount of alcohol as a beer or glass of wine.
- Provide an explanation of the variation in alcohol content consumers may encounter with commonly served mixed drinks.
- Advise consumers that unless they make it themselves and measure carefully, it can be difficult to estimate how much alcohol is actually in a mixed drink made with hard liquor.
- Let consumers know that depending on factors such as the type of hard liquor and the recipe, a mixed drink may include the equivalent of several light beers or glasses of wine.
- Explain that hard liquor and mixed drinks can raise Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) more quickly than other alcohol beverages.