How much fiber is in your shot of Jim Beam? What vitamins are in your gin? If those questions sound odd, get ready: The same nutritional information you see on Gatorade may soon be coming to raspberry vodka.
It turns out the government has different regulatory bodies for food and spirits, but a recently proposed change could mean uniform nutritional labels across all consumable goodies (including booze). It all stems from some fairly complicated legal designations that separate food (headed up by the FDA) from some, but not all, alcohol (which is regulated by the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau).
In a popular thread from Reddit’s “Explain It Like I’m Five” page, Redditors have been trying to explain why alcohol doesn’t need to disclose the same nutritional information as, say, Coca-Cola. Basically, it comes down to some pretty ambiguous legal distinctions, like whether or not a beer uses malted grain. (That explains why gluten-free beer and hard cider count as regular old foodstuffs.) Redditors have, like us, been a little confused:
“Why no nutrition labels on the liquor bottles we buy? Isn’t it important to know about what we are drinking?” — minutemilitia
“And here i thought angry orchard was just being super cool and transparent..” — h1p1n3
“People with allergies would be interested to know what goes into their drinks (if someone has a strawberry allergy, should they avoid the strawberry vodka or is it artificially flavored and okay for them to drink?).” — tangoing
But nutritional ignorance might soon get a lot tougher for drinkers (sorry for raining on the party, y’all). Since 2007, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has been pushing to require serving facts on all alcoholic beverages. And while it might take another few years for that proposal to become law, the TTB released a set of voluntary guidelines for alcohol labels in May 2013, giving consumers and manufacturers a pretty good idea of what required labels might look like (basically, the same as the nutritional labels on food).