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Decisions: Beer

Dealcoholized Beer Labelling

Question: Is "dealcoholized (trademark name) beer" an acceptable common name?

Answer: No, "dealcoholized (trademark name) beer" is not an acceptable common name for a dealcoholized beer.  The common name "dealcoholized beer" should not be split up by intervening material;  therefore, " (trademark name) dealcoholized beer" is more appropriate.  (21/11/90)

Flavoured Beers

Question: What are acceptable common names for flavoured beers, such as cherry flavoured beer or beer made with maple syrup?

Answer:  The standard for beer in the Food and Drug Regulations (section B.02.130) does not provide for the addition of flavour preparations. Therefore, if a cherry flavour is added to beer, it becomes an unstandardized alcoholic beverage that requires an appropriate common name and list of ingredients. Since section B.01.009 of the Food and Drug Regulations exempts both beer (item 22) and flavour preparations (B.01.009(2) item 2) from declaring components (ingredients of ingredients) in a list of ingredients, common names such as "beer with added cherry flavour" could also suffice as the ingredient list.

With respect to beer made with maple syrup, the common name of the product depends upon when during the production process, the maple syrup is added. If, for example, the maple syrup is added during the course of manufacture of the beer, e.g., during fermentation, then the final product would still meet the standard for beer and could still use the qualified common names provided for in Section B.02.132 of the Food and Drug Regulations, e.g. light beer, strong beer, etc. This is because the standard for beer provides for the addition of "carbohydrate matter" during the "course of manufacture", and maple syrup added during fermentation fulfills this provision.

On the other hand, if maple syrup is added after the completion of the fermentation, it becomes a situation as described under the "cherry flavour" example above, i.e. , it is an unstandardized product and requires an appropriate common name and a list of ingredients. ( July 07/94).

"Ice Beer"

Question: Is the claim "ice beer" acceptable for a beer subjected to freezing and removal of the ice crystals so formed?

Answer:  Yes, "ice beer" is an acceptable claim for a beer subjected to this process. However, the expression "ice beer" may not be used as a common name because section B.01.132 of the Food and Drug Regulations, which establishes common names for beer, ale, stout, porter and malt liquor based on the alcohol content of the beverage, (e.g. extra light beer, light beer, beer, strong beer, extra-strong beer), does not provide for the use of the term "ice beer" as a common name. (03/03/93)

"Labelling of 0.4% Alcohol Beer"

Question: Is "0.4% Alcohol Beer" and "Bière à 0.4% d'alcool" an acceptable common name?.

Answer: Yes, "0.4% Alcohol Beer"/"Bière à 0.4% d'alcool" is an acceptable common name for a beer that meets the Food and Drug Regulations' standard for beer and contains 0.4% alcohol. Section B.02.132 of the Regulations establishes common names for beer and ale that contain 1.1 percent alcohol or more, (extra light beer to extra strong beer). Since there are no requirements for the common name of beers that contain less than 1.1 percent alcohol, this common name is acceptable. (12/04/91)

Claim "Less Sweet than Other Beers"

Question:  Can the statement "X Brand Dry is less sweet than other beers" or "...less sweet than Y Brand Dry" be made to compare the sugar content of two beers?

Answer:  The comparative claim "less sweet (than)" is not acceptable. Only comparative claims listed in the table following B.01.513 are permitted, such as reduced in sugars" (item 38) or "lower in sugars" (item 39). The food must meet the conditions set out in column 2 and the label and ad must meet the conditions set out in column 3. For more information, see Table 7-12 in the 2003 Guide.

For further information on the claims on the addition of sugars to a food, permitted under B.01.502(2)(f), see section 7.23 of the 2003 Guide. (updated 2006)