How do I use these Guidelines?

Please see this page for instructions on how to use these Guidelines.

I don’t package my beer. Do the IBA Beer Labeling Guidelines apply to my taproom? What about takeaways in growlers?

The IBA Beer Labeling Guidelines are designed to apply to packaged beer for retail sale only. Taprooms and growlers have different and separate requirements. The IBA is looking at providing a similar list of taproom/growler guidelines in the future. Watch this space.

What is the difference between best-before, use-by dates and packed-on dates?

Use-by dates are only for products that will be unsafe to consume beyond a certain date due to health and safety reasons. This will generally not apply to beer. When use-by dates do apply, they are mandatory.

Best-before dates are the date by which the beer will remain fully marketable and will retain any specific qualities about which you have made express or implied claims. You must include a best-before date on your label.

Packed-on dates are not compulsory for beer labels, but are favoured by many consumers. As such, many brewers choose to include this on their beer labels as it provides consumers with a clear indication of the freshness of the beer.

Can I include a packed-on date instead of a best-before date?

No. The Food Standards Code requires that beer labels have best-before dates in the prescribed formats.

I thought country of origin statements weren’t required for beer?

The country of origin logos such as the bar logo and kangaroo are not necessary for beer. However, you must include a text statement on your beer indicating its country of origin.

Where do I find these logos?

The Standard Drinks Logo, DrinkWise and Pregnancy Logos, Recycle Logo and Gross Weight Logo are available in a downloadable document in our Logo Pack.

To use the IBA Independence Seal you must become a member and then register to use the Seal.

Do I really have to include the pregnancy advisory logo?

The pregnancy logo was previously a recommended element on beer packaging. Recently, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation decided that pregnancy advisory labeling will become mandatory for all alcoholic beverages.

There will be a transition period. However, as yet there is no implementation date or specific wording or logo. The IBA expects to consult with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand on the form that this could take and will update members as soon as possible.

For the time being, therefore, the IBA recommends that members continue to use the Drinkwise pregnancy logo available in its Logo Pack.

What happens if I don’t comply with labeling regulations?

Consequences of non-compliance can vary significantly. Non-compliance may result in:
• Prosecution by State or Territory authorities
• Product recall
• Regulatory enforcement by the ACCC or equivalent authorities in New Zealand
• Having to change your labeling
• Retailers refusing to stock your product

I don’t agree with these regulations.

These regulations exist as an aid to retailers and consumers. They operate in the context of a commercial market for food and alcohol products in Australia. Whether you agree with the regulations or not, you must comply with them.

Isn’t wheat/rye/barley an allergen? Do I need to list this?

Cereals such as wheat/rye/barley are considered allergens, but beer is exempted in the food standards code from listing these as allergens.

I’ve seen some people releasing 1% ABV beers. What are the labeling implications?

Beer at 1% ABV can be classified as a ‘low alcohol’ beer, but cannot make claims to be ‘alcohol-free’ or ‘non-intoxicating’. For a full list of requirements for alcohol-free claims, see point 17 of the Guidelines.

I’m thinking of brewing a beer with some unusual additions – think fruit, spices, snails, nuts. What do I do?

Firstly, check and see if your chosen additives are in the prohibited and restricted plants and fungi list.

If your additive is substance or a food that does not have a history of human consumption in Australia or New Zealand, check to see whether it is a novel food which requires a safety assessment by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Secondly, check to see whether the additive is a permitted food additive under the Code.

If your ingredient is a sulphite or an allergen, ensure that you include this information on your label.

I also make cider. Do these guidelines apply to my cider?

These are beer labeling guidelines, however, most of these will also be applicable to cider. We will contact Cider Australia to see if they have any labeling guidelines that they will share with us.

These Guidelines have very precise date formats – do I really have to follow this?

Yes.

I’m releasing a hazy IPA and I want to put images of oranges on my packaging. Will that be a problem?

It may be. Refer to our responsible marketing and discussion with Harry Jenkins.