Craft Beers Grabbed by Obamacare’s Long Reach

The impact of Obamacare is so vast it has restaurants wondering if they may be forced to stop selling locally made “craft beers” and other alcoholic beverages made by small entrepreneurs.

A group of trade associations recently wrote the Food and Drug Administration expressing concern regarding a new federal labeling guide for restaurants and urging that the agency be flexible.

The trade groups’ concerns relate to a provision intended to fight obesity requiring all “restaurants, retail food establishments and vending machines” to list the calories for all foods they provide. A guidance released in September by the FDA listed only one exception for alcoholic beverages: bottles that are on display behind a bar and used by bartenders. Otherwise, alcoholic beverages’ calorie content must be listed according to the data in the FDA’s nutrition database.

That’s a problem, the trade associations pointed out to the FDA. “The data requested by the FDA for its menu labeling rules are not available today for many beers, wines, cordials, liqueurs and flavored spirits featured on the menus of covered establishments. Until such information is readily available, beverage alcohol industry members may be required to incur the costs of laboratory testing that could amount to $1,000 per brand.”