From July 2019
Dealcoholisation - the guidelines
The UK government has produced guidance on low
alcohol descriptors, to help the drinks industry and
retailers in marketing their products responsibly.
In the UK, specific descriptors are given to drinks that are
1.2% alcohol by volume (abv) or less. The descriptors
apply to drinks that contained alcohol at some point in
their production. The guidance is as follows:
- alcohol-free - 0.05% abv maximum, alcohol removed
- dealcoholised - 0.5% abv maximum, alcohol removed
- low alcohol - 1.2% abv maximum
- non-alcoholic - sacramental wine only
Rules differ in EU Member States, especially for beer, on
what is considered alcohol-free or not. In the Netherlands,
for example, alcohol-free beer is below 0.1% vol, while in
Belgium it is below 0.5% vol, below 1.0% vol in Spain and
below 1.2% vol in France and Italy.
In the European Union, spirit drink names may not be
used to describe a product below, or diluted with water
below, the minimum alcoholic strength established for its
category (for instance, 37.5% for gin).
The details around labelling of alcoholic drinks with
reduced alcohol content are varied and complex. Please
get in touch to find out more about the guidelines on
dealcoholised drinks as this has significant implications for
labelling, marketing and sale of these products.
Contact: Jonathan Coleman
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