If you are a label reader, you've probably noticed that alcoholic beverages don't have the standard nutrition label that foods and non-alcoholic drinks do. That's because alcohol isn't regulated by the FDA or USDA, rather by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (part of the treasury department).
Since the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau isn’t really interested in your health, just your tax money, nutrition labeling is not mandated on alcoholic beverages. However, forward thinking brands have started to provide some nutrition information on their labels. In 2016, the world's largest beer conglomerates announced that they would provide nutrition information on their product by 2020.
Bud Light has just launched new packaging that includes an FDA-like nutrition label. The label won't appear on individual cans or bottles, rather on the outer packaging. It doesn't exactly to conform to FDA standards either, listing the ingredients first, and nutrient information only afterwards.
The ingredient list does look impressive - just 4 ingredients: Water, Barley, Rice, and Hops.
The nutrition label is carefully crafted to make the beer seem benign. There are only 110 calories per can. None of them are from Fat. In fact, 5 lines out of 9, deal with various types of fats, and all are at 0. That's great, but why the detailed breakdown? Answer: health-washing, an ancient food marketing trick.
There are only 6.6 grams of carbs, which account for about 25 calories. So where do the other 80 plus calories come from?
The alcohol, of course.
If there is one piece of nutrition information we'd expect from a nutrition label on beer, it is the amount of alcohol and its caloric equivalent. How disappointing, then, that there is no room left on the nutrition label dedicated to telling us more about the alcohol content in the can.
Yes, the alcohol percentage does appear on every bottle and can, but to translate that into calories, you'll need to do quite a bit of math. Budweiser marketing folks don't want you thinking too much about that. Instead, "focus on the cool blue packaging and 4 whole food ingredients. Bud Light is healthier than a smoothie! Now go out and buy another 6-pack..."