Examples Of Carbohydrate Content
The Drink Beer, Get Thin Diet
Coors Carbs (per 12-ounce serving)
Artic Ice Repeal 8.98
Artic Ice 3.2 6.66
Artic Ice Export 5.82
Blue Moon Belgian White 12.87
Blue Moon Honey Blond Repeal 19.72
Blue Moon Nut Brown Repeal 16.78
Blue Moon Raspberry Repeal 20.92
Castlemaine XXXX Repeal 9.41
Coors Repeal 11.79
Coors 3.2 9.54
Coors Export 10.68
Coors Dry Repeal 5.92
Coors Dry 4.84
ROLLING ROCK 10.00 CARBS, BALLANTINE ALE 15.90 CARBS, REDHOOK BLOND ALE 13.13 CARBS, ANCHOR STEAM 16.00 CARBS, GRANT’S SCOTTISH ALE 12.70 CARBS, SPOETZEL’S SHINER SUMMER STOCK 10.50 CARBS, WIDMER BROS SOMMERBRAU 10.80 CARBS…THE LIST GOES ON AND ON…MORE THAN 350 BEER/CARB COUNTS IN THE BOOK + 80 MORE UPDATES AVAILABLE!
Q. Why isn’t the carbohydrate and caloric content on ALL beers, not just light beer?
A. Well…this is sort of a tricky question, but suffice it to say that 90% of the reason is because the Federal Government says so. Current Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulations do not require a nutritional analysis (calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat) of beer produced or imported into the United States on their containerized products (bottles, cans, etc.) unless they are indicated as being “light” or “lite”. Their explanation is as follows;
“On August 10, 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register soliciting comments from the public and industry on whether the regulations should be amended to require nutritional information on labels of alcohol beverages.
The comment period for the ANPRM closed on February 7, 1994. ATF received 55 comments in response to the advance notice. Only 7 of these comments came from consumers. However, 5 of the 7 consumers who commented opposed nutrition labeling. (Did any of you get the memo on this? I didn’t!) Overall, 80 percent of the comments received in response to the ANPRM opposed nutrition labeling for alcohol beverages. Thirty-five of the comments opposing nutrition labeling were submitted on behalf of industry, both domestic and foreign.
After careful consideration of the petition and the comments received in response to the advance notice, ATF determined that an amendment of the regulations to provide nutrition information on labels of alcohol beverages is unnecessary and unwarranted.”
So there you go!
Could a brewery voluntarily add carbohydrate or caloric information to all their containerized products if they wanted to? Probably, but the cost of redesigning labels and cans to reflect an average analysis of all their products could place an undue financial burden on marginally profitable breweries wanting to sell their products in the U.S., and since the BATF feels that “…nutrition information on labels [and cans] is unnecessary and unwarranted”, don’t expect to find carbohydrate information or any nutritional information on regular brewed beers.
“In reviewing its position, the Bureau has found that specifying the caloric content of the product in comparison to the brewer’s regular product is no longer essential to give the consumer a point of reference. Also, the Bureau has determined that carbohydrate references should be handled in the same manner as caloric references.”
Of course, because light beers are lower in carbohydrates and calories than their regular products, the brewers are forced to add this information and an average nutritional analysis to their bottles, cans and advertising to confirm to BATF regulations and also as a sales inducement for those trying to restrict carbohydrate or caloric intake.
“The Bureau will not sanction any caloric or carbohydrate references on labels that do not contain a statement of average analysis.”
Actually, this part of the tale isn’t quite so. Bert Grant, better known by some as the man who opened the Yakima Brewing Company, the first post-Prohibition brewpub in the U.S., decided that he was going to subject his Scottish Ale to a nutritional analysis, something that many of his customers had asked him to do, and put this info on the beer’s label. You would think that everyone would be happy. After all, you know what’s in the Hostess Twinkies you eat, but you no have no idea what’s in your beer. (Don’t get my started on “organic” beer!)
The BATF stepped in at this point and ruled that Grant’s labeling of his beer was a violation of an old Repeal-era ruling that prohibited beer makers from suggesting that their products were food-like or curative. A number of post-Repeal brewers used to brag that their beers contained “Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin!” After a long legal battle and many dollars spent trying to do the right thing, Bert backed down from the Feds but the suits did eventually throw him a bone; Grant could continue to place the carbohydrate and fat content of his beer on the labels of his ale.
Why doesn’t somebody else follow suit? I believe it’s called past practice?
The more savvy brewers have made complete nutritional analyses of all their products and offer this information to anyone who wants to know what they’re drinking through handouts and product spec sheets but not on their products. But I am disappointed, however, that many of the breweries will not provide this information are the smaller sized microbreweries that are struggling to make an impact in the national beer market. Some of these breweries took the approach, when I questioned them, that their products were brewed for their taste, not for their nutritional aspects. But quite often, a check of their web sites will reveal the standard general argument that beer contains vitamins and minerals, implying a nutritional benefit.
One small brewery left me shaking my head after my inquiry about the carb content of their products.“We don’t list the IBU’s, calories, carbs, etc…for any of our brews. Unless it’s a special circumstance.” I was going to reply that a customer inquiry for information on the nutritional analysis of their products certainly seemed like a special circumstance but figured I’d get nowhere with that argument.
That, my friends, is the other 10% of the answer to the posed question above. Mr. or Mrs. Brewer, you can’t have it both ways.
The ATF suggest that those interested in finding out what’s in the beer they drink “…should contact the company by writing to the address on the label. Most companies will assist you if you ask them for this information.” Good luck here. It took me over two years to put the carbohydrate information of over 350 brands of worldwide beers together. I had a lot of phones hung up on me and lost track of scores of unanswered e-mails and letters for carbohydrate information from brewers.
The reluctance or inability by some smaller breweries to provide information on what I’m putting into my body is somewhat unnerving.