Alcoholic beverage consumers often pick new-to-the-market or unknown-to-them purchases based on the label. Some manufacturers are acutely aware of this and try to use something that stands out from the crowd. Others have a distinct yet unified brand design style that they use to introduce new products. Some may have a less is more aesthetic where they want the product to speak for itself. These individual priorities must also address all labeling requirements by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
The government warning statement
The agency sees many mistakes regarding the government’s health warning statement that must appear on the labels of beverages with .5% or higher alcohol level by volume. Here is the correct version:
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.
In hopes of helping our industry friends out, we have a shortlist of common mistakes that the TTB sees:
- “GOVERNMENT WARNING” is either not all in capital letters or not bold type.
- The mandatory statement’s grammar or punctuation marks are altered in some way.
- The design includes statements or warnings about alcohol consumption required by other countries.
- The statement is not separate and apart from other information on the front, back or side label.
- The statement is not readily legible.
Guessing will not cut it
The type size requirements vary on container size. Those who violate the TTB’s provision may be fined up to $10,000. Penalties accrue daily, so manufacturers and importers should refer to the regulations or consult with professionals with alcohol beverage law knowledge before taking a product with a new label into the market.