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Many Beer Makers Will Start Listing Calories on Bottles & Cans

A group of people toasts with beer bottles.
(Image credit: <a href=''>College drinking photo</a> via Shutterstock)

Americans will soon start seeing calorie labels on many beer bottles and cans, thanks to new guidelines from the beer industry.

Some of the biggest U.S. beer companies have agreed to list the number of calories, along with other nutritional information about their products, on their labels, according to a statement from the Beer Institute, a trade association of companies.

Companies that have agreed to the new guidelines (which are voluntary) include Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Heineken USA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance, which together produce more than 80 percent of the beer sold in the U.S., the statement said.

Americans have long been able to check labels or menus to find out how many calories are in their Starbucks latte or can of Coke, but many alcoholic beverage manufacturers aren't required to list nutritional information on their products, due to differences in the way that alcohol products are regulated. Public health advocates have said that this is problematic, because calories in alcoholic beverages can contribute to weight gain.

"Alcohol can be a major source of calories for many Americans, and the absence of calorie labeling on cans and bottles has helped obscure that," Michael Jacobson, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy organization, said in a statement. The new industry guidelines are good news for consumers, Jacobson said. "Consumers have as much right to know what’s in their beer as in their root beer." [Here's How Much Alcohol Is OK to Drink in 19 Countries]

Calorie information could appear on some beer products "immediately," and participating companies are being encouraged to comply with the guidelines on all of their product lines by the end of 2020, the Beer Institute said.

Jacobson called for wine and liquor producers to adopt similar guidelines.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 12 ounces of beer has about 150 calories, a 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 125 calories, and 1.5 ounces of gin, rum, vodka, whiskey or tequila has about 100 calories.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner
Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.