Do Drinkers Care About Calories?

FDA LogoYes, alcohol beverages fall under the umbrella of the federal nutrition labeling requirements, according to guidelines released by the FDA recently. The drinks industry was holding its collective breath on that one, after dodging that bullet in the regs put forth in several states, including California, and some local municipalities. The legislation is part of the health care reform bill signed by President Obama in March. Final labeling guidelines will be issued by March 23, 2011.

The legislation applies specifically to foodservice establishments doing business under the same name and offering “substantially the same menu items” and operating in 20 or more locations, meaning consumers will be exposed to calorie counts for their libations in chain restaurants.

Once it’s on the menus at chain restaurants, do you think seeing this information will affect patrons’ drink choices? Take our Poll to let us know!

While many involved in the making and marketing of cocktails, wine and beer in chain restaurants are likely cringing at the prospect of producing and publicizing calorie and other nutritional information about the adult beverages they serve, there are some interesting elements of the guidelines. For instance, daily specials and items that appear on the menu for less than 60 days per calendar year are exempt from the labeling requirement, as are items in market test.

The FDA is now taking public comments on the regulations; click here to provide your input.

What are your thoughts, concerns or ideas around these guidelines? Answer our quick Poll question, or let me know what you think by e-mailing me at [email protected]. And look for ongoing coverage in our e-newsletters, on and in Nightclub & Bar Magazine.

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