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Retired Info Tech Project Manager. Born in the British Empire. Educated in Physics. Worked inn Information Technology. Interests - Writing, Theater, Bicycling, Rowing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beverage Industry Finds Regulation Hard to Swallow

"After more than 30 years of deliberation, federal regulators have proposed requiring the alcoholic-beverage industry to put nutrition and alcohol-content labels on their containers, setting off the equivalent of a barroom brawl among makers of beer, wine and liquor. " - Washington Post, January 22, 2008.

Hmmm...Thirty years? Did they take vacation, or at least breaks, during those years? Perhaps they should have gulped a couple of stiff ones before sitting down to deliberate? Anyway, no need to worry about legislating in haste. The regulations will take effect three years after they are published, or the last regulator sobers up - whichever is later.

Max Beerbum, lobbyist for the Braumeisters of Mittel America, told your reporter that his membership welcome proposed labeling requirements. "Beer has a gut deal of nutrition, unlike liquor," he asserted. When asked about the impact of the labeling on carb-conscious consumers, he was unconcerned. "Eferyone's talking about carbon footprint these days. Ve vill make it clear that our product does not increase your footprint; it is all waisted."

Rocco Vinicelli, publisher of American Vintner, was more guarded in his assessment. "Our membership is taking a wait and drink attitude," he explained. "Announcements so far state that the labels would be required to show carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories. They have not decided on disclosing alcohol content. But, most importantly, there has been no mention of reservatrol, flavonoids, or other healthful ingredients in wine. Where is the level playing field?" he complained.

Vinicelli pointed out that vintners are rightly concerned about the cost of testing wines in a laboratory. "We already spend enough on taste testing; now they want us to lab test, too? Fuggeddaboutit!" he yelled, hitting his desk with paper knife. When your reporter persisted, he reluctantly conceded that they could modify the taste test to spit the wine into test tubes set on a conveyor belt that would take them (the test tubes, not the vintners) directly to the lab, thus saving time and money.

Jack Beam, representing the Confederated Bourbonmakers, was even more vehement in his opposition. "Traditionally, beer is sold in 12 ounce bottles or cans; wine is sold in 750 mL bottles or by the glass, usually 5 ounces. But people can buy bourbon in any size drink, depending on the bar, the bartender and what goes into a particular drink. So how can you compare them? Them Revenooers are being unreasonable," he asserted.

Alcoholics Unanimous is trying to mediate, in an attempt to resolve the disputes. AU has invited the various industry leaders and regulators to a cocktail party; however, the Happy Hour does not start until the participants sign a common position paper.

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