Why alcohol doesn’t come with nutrition facts

By Brian Lemay 100 comments

if you go into a grocery store and you buy
pretty much anything: a bottle of water, a bag of chips, that thing will have a nutritional
label on it if you go buy beer or wine or liquor, it usually
doesn’t, and that’s crazy the reason why is kind of complicated so it all dates back to 1935 shortly after prohibition was repealed, Congress
formed a new agency that would regulate alcoholic beverages booze got its own agency, it wasn’t regulated
by the food and drug administration, which meant that in 1990 when the FDA told food
companies they needed to start labeling all of their packaged foods, that rule didn’t
apply to alcohol in the years since, there’s been a weird hodgepodge
of complicated rules put into place for nutrition facts on alcohol super weird, for example, most beers are made
out of something called malted barley but, if you’re an alcohol company and you
happen to make a beer that doesn’t have malted barley in it sorry, you need to put a label on that same goes if you’re a wine maker, and say
you have a particular vintage that happens to contain less than seven percent alcohol
by volume sorry, put a label on that one too but, for most of the alcohol that we drink,
labels are optional so, they can list calorie counts if they want,
and if they do, they also have to list carbs, protein and fat, but they can also just leave
all that out which means that those of us who are super
conscious of ingredients or trying to count calories are pretty much out of luck consumer groups have tried six different times
to get the regulations changed, to get labels put on alcoholic beverages and they’ve even gotten close a few times,
but the beverage industry, as you might have guessed, has some powerful lobbyists a few different industry groups said that
if they were required to put nutrition facts on alcohol, it would mislead consumers into
thinking that alcohol was nutritious wine producers also said it would be way too
hard to test every single vintage for things like calorie content or grams of sugar, especially
when these things vary so much from year to year in the end, the consumer groups lost their
fight basically, regulators just sided with manufacturers
and made labels optional the fact that alcoholic beverages don’t have
nutrition labels on them, this has consequences for people’s health when people don’t have information about how
many calories they’re consuming or how much sugar, they’re not as good at making smart
decisions about how much to drink it’s certainly not a guarentee that people
would drink more responsibly if they knew this information, but putting it on the label
definitely can’t hurt just from a consumer standpoint, it seems
like our right to know that, if we know it for bottled water, if we know it for a package
of chips, it’s really bizarre that we’re not allowed to know it for beer


DudeGuy’s Realm

Jul 7, 2017, 10:45 pm Reply


Brenner Benoit

Jul 7, 2017, 2:05 pm Reply

Stop. We don't need labels. If you are health conscious then don't drink alcohol…


Jul 7, 2017, 1:47 am Reply

"It can't hurt [me]" isn't a reason to do something that takes a lot of doing and would have a lot of third-party effects.

Blue Cat

Jul 7, 2017, 2:13 am Reply

According to the comments, you'd think drinking alcohol is the literal equivalent of drinking bleach. 🤣

Cheyenne Lynn

Jul 7, 2017, 3:21 am Reply

I was just about to log my calories for my mott's caesar in a can and looked for the non existent nutrition label and now I am here


Jul 7, 2017, 3:55 am Reply

People don't want to know that their liquid bread is making them fat lol

Gabriel O’Connell

Jul 7, 2017, 10:01 pm Reply

what a beautiful age we live in

Gerardo Carriles

Jul 7, 2017, 9:17 pm Reply

Everyone is saying nobody who drinks alcohol cares about calorie content in alcoholic beverages, but there are people like Type I diabetics who actually enjoy alcohol and need to know a precise calorie count to administer insulin while drinking beer. I can't see a reason to prevent these people from enjoying a couple beers just because some people might confuse beer with "liquid bread".


Jul 7, 2017, 12:56 am Reply

that's ridiculous. putting a nutrition label will probably NOT lead people to believe that alcohol is nutritious…. wtf

Jake Machado

Jul 7, 2017, 2:56 am Reply

Why does water have a nutritional label?

Daddy Dadpants

Aug 8, 2017, 8:55 pm Reply

boo! don't make my alcohol cost more


Aug 8, 2017, 1:11 am Reply

The idea that people are not as able to make smart decisions about their food and drinks because of the lack of nutritional labeling is false. Studies actually show that since the introduction of mandatory labeling we've actually gotten worse at controling out diet.

phil s

Aug 8, 2017, 1:48 am Reply

did you cancel this type of video from casey neistat?


Aug 8, 2017, 6:36 pm Reply

Way to hard to test :)))) now thats just lazy american way out. :)))


Aug 8, 2017, 6:56 am Reply

If you're counting calories, than you shouldn't be drinking.


Sep 9, 2017, 4:49 pm Reply

I figured they might not want people thinking the nutrients make it a food substitute, but the calories, sugars, etc. should totally be listed

Christian Sørensen

Sep 9, 2017, 6:23 am Reply

I don't know how exactly to fix the world but start with… "shoot all the lobbyists." That'd be a good place to start.

Music 4 Dance

Sep 9, 2017, 2:53 am Reply

Because the people who are drinking the alcohol most likely don't care about their nutrition

Kaden Sutton

Oct 10, 2017, 2:42 am Reply

Lol who else is "Binge" watching these?

Adventures with Frodo

Oct 10, 2017, 4:34 am Reply

Note the calories is totally WRONG.

огромная эрекция

Oct 10, 2017, 7:58 pm Reply

It's not food you godamn pot heads!

Suhil Nafi

Oct 10, 2017, 9:05 am Reply

It's a good thing alcohol is banned in our religion


Oct 10, 2017, 12:23 am Reply

One could argue that the detrimental effects to the internal organs caused by excessive alcohol consumption should be on there too.


Oct 10, 2017, 7:15 pm Reply

This shows, in my opinion, that as long as lobbying exists, the US is not a republic, but an oligarchy.

Marius Banik

Oct 10, 2017, 9:41 am Reply

Nutritioninfo on beer: beer is all the nutrition youll ever need

kn Smith

Nov 11, 2017, 3:15 am Reply

Wanna be conscious of caloire, drink liquor and stay away from the damn sodas, light beer is crap. Just drink regular beer. You ppl sound dumb,wanna know caloire,sugar and whatever else. If your on diet you dont need to be binge drinking everyday. Having 1 to 2 beers every now and then wont hirt your diet.

Jason G

Nov 11, 2017, 3:54 pm Reply

Excellent video. But I think that your narrators need to work on not whistling their "s" sounds, as I found this so distracting that I had to lower the volume.

Rafael Murta

Nov 11, 2017, 3:10 pm Reply

Google how many calories has in urvpoison of choice by the glass and b happy

Eduardo Vargas

Dec 12, 2017, 6:44 am Reply

I 100% agree that alcohol should be labeled. However, in the time being we could just test for calories on our own. Other nutrient facts will be a bit harder but all you need to test calorie count is a few test tubes, a flame, the object, water, and a thermometer.

Joshua Graham

Dec 12, 2017, 6:20 pm Reply

Anyone else love how they didn't show the yuengling bottle the whole time to avoid a potential law suit then picked it up at the end?


Dec 12, 2017, 9:36 pm Reply

I have to say, I don’t really mind not being treated like a child for once, I can make my own decisions on what and how much to consume, and I don’t need nutritional information on bottled water (drink tap water!), nor on beer.

Emily St. Clair

Dec 12, 2017, 11:16 pm Reply

i love how they didn’t even think about diabetics who actually NEED to count their carbs to keep their blood sugars in good control but they bothered to mention people who just want to count calories as if that’s the biggest problem here

Tash Hashimi

Dec 12, 2017, 1:52 am Reply

Ok nobody drinks alcohol and thinks about health


Dec 12, 2017, 3:57 pm Reply

Easy solution: Don't buy it if it doesn't have a label.
Better solution: Stop drinking alcohol.

Daniel Widyanto

Dec 12, 2017, 5:37 pm Reply

Maybe you should make video about expiry date on 'table salt' as well? I'm not sure why my Natrium Chloride can expire next year despite the fact that it has been there for the last millenia in the ocean / mountain / wherever

Samual Chance

Dec 12, 2017, 1:25 am Reply

Why would you need this for beer or wine? We already know the ingredients! It's like saying: what's the ingredients of this cheese!

E. Asinus

Dec 12, 2017, 4:34 pm Reply

Easy enough when your crohns says NOOOOOOOOOO to alcohol.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Dec 12, 2017, 8:36 am Reply

1:34 I have the same pencil as you!


Dec 12, 2017, 10:37 am Reply

In Europe we don't have nutritional facts on wine. The French where against it, because they don't want anyone to know that they add a lot off additives to keep the taste the same year after year.

James Ray

Dec 12, 2017, 6:31 am Reply

Calorie counting inaccurate anyway. :3


Dec 12, 2017, 1:18 pm Reply

I think the logic is simple. People who drink high concentration of alcohol don't really care to read, so why bother?

Joseph G

Jan 1, 2018, 4:09 pm Reply

2:09 Other beverages and foods have nutrition labels and people do "have information about how many calories they're consuming or how much sugar", so why are 50%+ Americans overweight?
Want to make smart decisions? Why don't you just quit drinking that carcinogen?


Jan 1, 2018, 11:45 pm Reply

I've always wondered this, I wanna see ingredients in it most the time


Jan 1, 2018, 9:29 am Reply

This is why I don't drink.

Javier Orantes

Jan 1, 2018, 9:07 pm Reply

So then don't drink a load of alcohol goddamn.

Surplus Bus

Jan 1, 2018, 11:42 pm Reply

The more i learn about USA the more i feel like at some point they crossbreded with vegetables


Jan 1, 2018, 12:59 am Reply

trust if im drinking my health is not a concern

Phoebe Snow

Jan 1, 2018, 2:34 am Reply

In Australia we have a standard measuring system, and every bottle of alcohol tells you how many "standard" drinks are in it. So like, a bottle of wine has about 7 standards in it and a single beer has about 1 – 1.4 standards. It makes it way easier for you to know how much you're drinking and keep track of your consumption.

sa’ad m

Jan 1, 2018, 6:27 am Reply

there is nothing nutritious about alcohol

Raydon Zeus Pierre

Jan 1, 2018, 1:10 pm Reply

As a manufacturer of alcohol,I gotta say, it really would be hard to get accurate info and keep it accurate. Besides if you drink alot if alcohol you probably aren't too concerned about calories.

Nicholous Silva

Jan 1, 2018, 10:47 pm Reply

I am hoping that one day we will know. You will be surprised the crap they put in alcohol and we are forced to call rude customer service representatives or write drawn out emails to find out what is in the alcohol and by law they don't have to tell us. Gluten free? Diabetic? Fish allergy? Dairy allergy? Vegan? or whatever, how would you know? Just try and ask Crown Royal they won't tell you..

John Rivera

Jan 1, 2018, 8:36 pm Reply

Bottled water vs Beer, Come on

Benjamin Buljevic

Jan 1, 2018, 10:17 pm Reply

in germany it does come with that

Sam Elliott

Jan 1, 2018, 4:52 pm Reply

People please… Not everything is about calories! Some people NEED to know other nutritional information.


Jan 1, 2018, 4:51 pm Reply

It’s funny how a majority of box videos explain why a certain way is so but always comes down to lobbying in governments…


Feb 2, 2018, 7:52 pm Reply

Vox answering questions no one even asked lol

Lukas Prochazka

Feb 2, 2018, 8:14 am Reply

I tottaly see how after 5 beers people are like…ok tat was enogh I rechd my caloris maxmum


Feb 2, 2018, 6:42 pm Reply

Like soda, I’m sure that alcohol nowadays has more new addictive properties that are causing the hike in alcoholics. Ofcourse if beer companies can get away with this, then they will. Money speaks volumes

Brandon Diaz

Feb 2, 2018, 7:22 am Reply

Just leave the booze alone. Of course it’s bad for you! But ya drink it anyway to have a good time. It’s gets ya drunk.

Ritvik Vaishnav

Feb 2, 2018, 3:24 pm Reply

just stop drinking duh

Ari Goodstein

Feb 2, 2018, 2:59 am Reply

I love Vox. But the opinion at the end of this one is dumb. I’m sorry, but, alcohol is bad for you. I don’t need to read how much sugar or carbs it has.

Alex Mikal

Feb 2, 2018, 12:53 pm Reply

I'm pretty sure you have a bigger problem than high cholesterol intake if you drink too much alcohol.


Feb 2, 2018, 1:36 am Reply

Wine I understand perfectly why having nutritional facts wouldn’t work, beer and most hard alcohols on the other hand it would make sense to label


Feb 2, 2018, 10:17 pm Reply

everyone's arguing over calories on labels and im just over here with an allergy
hmm looks good, hope i dont have a reaction ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Cornel Dutta

Mar 3, 2018, 2:09 pm Reply

Brilliant production as always by Vox! Convey my kudos to your creative teams who visualize all the information for the videos! ☺️


Apr 4, 2018, 10:07 pm Reply

Literally every problem in this country is caused by lobbying

Liquid Gold

Apr 4, 2018, 11:27 am Reply

Think about how much money this would cost companies to get caloric numbers on everyone one of their beverages. How expensive would our beer and wine cost us, because you know the companies would defray their costs to the consumers before taking it out of their profits.

Truth Finder

Apr 4, 2018, 9:41 am Reply

The most subtle poison is sugar. Fructose. They should at least list this. Everyone knows alcohol isn’t nutritional but I promise they are pumping in high fructose and other harmful agents. I believe anything that can be consumed should have ingredients listed. Period.

Eric Lerma

Apr 4, 2018, 4:15 am Reply

I'd love it if lobbyists are abolished

Rahmad Renaldi

May 5, 2018, 11:51 am Reply

isn't alcohol just disinfectant ?

Lego Play Time

May 5, 2018, 8:21 am Reply

Because there is none

FannniePac BlasteR

May 5, 2018, 7:21 am Reply

And if you do work out, NEVER do what that goofball at 4:31 did! unless you don’t like your rotator cuffs

David Monack

May 5, 2018, 3:28 am Reply

Nutrition labels would be nice but consumers don't need them to make good health decisions. The calories in alcohol is not secret information. Google is your friend. Let me get you started: a 5 oz. glass of red wine has about 125 calories and a 12 oz. bottle of beer has about 150 calories. Yes, different brands and vintages will vary in their calorie counts, but not by that much. Calorie labeling for packaged food has a large margin of error as well. The precise figures are not very important when counting calories. Studies have shown that calorie counts on labels and menus do little to change consumer behavior.

Michael Kohn

May 5, 2018, 1:03 pm Reply

what beer are you drinking because I have never drank a beer without it? Granted it is not in big letters like my frosted flakes but it is still on the can


May 5, 2018, 7:21 pm Reply

ready to get blown away? The worse thing about alcohol if you want to stay healthy…isnt calories or sugars,..ITS THE ALCOHOL! xD Just dont drink at all! Sugars and calories are harmless in comparison to what alcohol does to you.


May 5, 2018, 8:36 pm Reply

I'd rather them just list the ingredients, for allergen purposes.

Chris Nguyen

May 5, 2018, 2:56 am Reply

Why is a 12 year old doing a report on alcohol?

Jakub Karczmarczyk

May 5, 2018, 2:27 am Reply

They dont even list ingredients tbh 🙁

Peasant of Pontus

May 5, 2018, 5:39 pm Reply

What's with the preachy teetotaller convention in the comments? 1920s were a century ago guys, alcohol is not the devil's drink.


May 5, 2018, 10:03 pm Reply

For people with food allergies, not having labels is a huuuggeee pain in the butt. I always thought vodka was only made from potatoes until I developed a rice allergy and had some vodka which was made from rice. My lips and throat swelled up really badly, but it took me months to figure out what was causing it. Was it gelatin? no…My new dog? no… Peanut contamination??? Because some vodkas would cause it, and not others, it took a long time before I figured it out–if it had just been on a label, I would have been good. It's insane to me that they don't have to at least put ingredient lists on alcohol.

Sashka D

Jun 6, 2018, 1:18 pm Reply

what's there to know, it's all sugar?!?


Jun 6, 2018, 1:16 am Reply

This would eviscerate independent brewers, which is the only redeemable part of U.S. beer culture.

Steve Harris

Jun 6, 2018, 1:01 pm Reply

There no nutrition in alcohol anyway.


Jun 6, 2018, 10:16 pm Reply

I feel like you missed the biggest group of people who would benefit, people with food allergies.

Smiley Le’Face

Jul 7, 2018, 6:20 pm Reply

If you're "health conscious" then stay away from liqour all together. Leave up it to these nannyistic, whistle-blowers to make sure alcoholic beverages are "nutritionally labeled". What a crock-o-shit haha


Jul 7, 2018, 5:26 am Reply

Alcohol is liquid sugar molecule at the chemical level.
This is why there are no nutritional labels on the bottle 🙂


Jul 7, 2018, 2:23 pm Reply

Side note: Alcohol and Tobacco were made exempt from drug scheduling in the 1970 Controlled Substance Act.

D’Anna C

Aug 8, 2018, 4:58 pm Reply


Sxpreme –

Oct 10, 2018, 5:02 pm Reply

People should just know alcohol is bad for nutrition anyway 🤦 like not only is it all liquid carbs, but it bloats your stomach

Filip Bahunek

Oct 10, 2018, 12:58 am Reply

To be fair, too many people are saying "to be fair" in this comment section, and let me give one example of a drink that takes full advantage of this law. Jagermeister. The stuff is basically syrup. it has 16.5 grams of sugar per shot. Over 3 times the sugar content in the same amount of Coke.

Luna Corbden

Oct 10, 2018, 10:49 pm Reply

I wish this video had talked about the allergy impact of a lack of labeling. My son has severe food allergies, so I'm used to looking at ingredients, but now that he is drinking age, we have to look it up online.. and maybe those sources are accurate or maybe they're not.


Dec 12, 2018, 1:09 am Reply

I just went to Google, typed in the name of the be followed by calories and got an answer. Not that hard.

Brian Braegelmann

Jan 1, 2019, 5:04 am Reply

All those labels come with a cost. A cost the big guys can afford, but the little guys might not be able to.

Guersom Falcon

Jan 1, 2019, 10:48 pm Reply

This society sucks

Jessie Neilan

Feb 2, 2019, 10:51 am Reply

If you really want to calorie count or regualte your nutrition. … maybe dont drink?
Anyone health conscious. Why are you consuming this. It does nothing. Everything about alcohol is negative.

Sukhjeet Sekhon

Apr 4, 2019, 7:18 pm Reply

If you want to be healthy and have to read the nutrition facts WHY ARE YOU DRINKING ALCOHOL IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Tfatk Fan

Jun 6, 2019, 6:39 am Reply

2 day sober doesnt sound like much but this video helps


Aug 8, 2019, 3:47 pm Reply

I’m Canadian tho


Sep 9, 2019, 1:55 pm Reply

1:16 if someone was that "super health concious " about health, they would even be picking food that need labeling. If you want health just eat whole plant foods.

yahya ahmed

Sep 9, 2019, 12:25 pm Reply

The video is nice….
But who reads that label anyway….
I m sure 95% don't even look at the labels

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