Is alcohol exempt from food labels?

I just realized that I see food labels on most food product, including most drinks. Even water has a good label with calories, serving size, etc listed on it.

But I have never seen a beer or a bottle of wine with that information–are they exempt for some reason? It would seem that if there is so much concern to notify me that a bottle of soda is three servings, shouldn’t alcohol have the same restrictions, so that I can make the same types of decisions?

Alcohol isn’t regulated by the FDA.

Some people are calling for this labeling.

Generally, yes. I don’t recall the reasoning for it, though.


Ive always thought this lack of labeling was RE TARD ED to the extreme.

All this baloney about responsible drinking and they dont even tell you the percentage of alchohol?

Well, 90% of beers are going to be between 4% and 5%. SOme even do print it on the label, though not all. Hard liquor has labeling, actually, in terms of proof (alcohol percentage is half the the proof.)

As for wine…umm…I don’t drink it, so I don’t know if it’s labeled or not.

IAALush. I vaguely recall reading that beers didn’t (or weren’t allowed to) print their alcohol percentages for fear of instigating a proof-race. I don’t know if that was a regulation or just something that the breweries didn’t want to do. There are some “Ice” beers that proudly proclaim “5.9%”, but I believe that’s recent. Also, I believe that the fortified wines usually list their proof or percentage.

Alcohol content is only one part of the problem. None of the ingredients are listed either. Don’t we have a right to know what flavorings or colorings are added? It should not be different than any other food.

People say that this exemption is because of powerful lobbying from the liquor lobby, who likes to keep their secrets private. But if that were so, wouldn’t we see at least SOME other countries where liquor does NOT get these exemptions? Fellow dopers from outside of the USA: In your country, are the labeling requirements for alcoholic drinks the same as other foods or not?

Most, but not all bottles of wine have the info somewhere on the label; usually, on the front label, but running “down” the side of the label, so you have to turn the bottle on its side to read it properly. Sometimes the info is on the back label.

For some reason, though hard liquors are “proofed”, where 80 proof is 40% alcohol, wine just lists the percentage of alcohol.

Most decent wines run somewhere between 11% and 15%, with the cheap, Kool-Aid-like swill (like Boone’s Farm and Bella Sera) typically run more like 6%-7%. Also, generally, the drier wines have a higher alcohol content than the sweeter. Very sweet varieties like moscato and white zinfandels are often only about 9% or 10%.

I never knew alcohol percentage isn’t required to be labelled in the US. It is in the UK. I assumed the OP was about “nutrition information” - protein, fat, carbohydrate etc, as found on pretty much all other food and drink. Alcoholic drinks never seem to have that stuff, but always show the alcohol content in my experience.

pulls his coopers closer and takes a look…

in Australia we have alcohol percentage on all drinks and units of 1 Australian standard drink:

but no ingredients…

Cecil’s take on the issue.

I had some pretty tasty beer a few years ago that was, I kid you not, 20 PERCENT alcohol. 40 proof beer!

Kinda pricey, but considering that one bottle was equal to 4 to 6 weak beers, it was actually pretty cheep booze wise.

I got all floaty before I finished the first one.

I don’t know how they got the proof that high. I suspect they just dumped in a bunch of surplus vodka when they were done…

What was the brand?

Dogfish Head 120 IPA is 21% ABV.
Sam Adams Utopias is 27% ABV (but more like a liqueur rather than a beer, and it’s extremely expensive, like $100 or so.)

edit: Looks like there’s a number of them in the 20%+ range.

It should be noted that the eisbocks on that list are made by “freeze distilling” the beer. It’s basically the same process as making traditional applejack: you allow the beer to freeze and, due to the different freezing points of water and alcohol, some of the water freezes and you skim that off to concentrate the liquid. The Sam Adams and Dogfish Head products, at least and I suspect most of the others (but perhaps not the Hair of the Dog one, I don’t know anything about that one), use some super hardy strains of yeast to get the alcohol that high.