What to Know About Labeling Canned Cocktails

What to Know About Labeling Canned Cocktails

As the demand for Ready-to-Drink (RTD) beverages continues to surge, understanding the labeling requirements for canned cocktails is essential for any beverage producer. From the popularity of hard seltzers to the variety of canned craft cocktails, the market has expanded rapidly. Here’s what you need to know about labeling your canned cocktails.

What are RTD beverages?

Ready-to-Drink (RTD) beverages include a wide range of pre-mixed drinks that are ready for consumption without any additional preparation. These beverages now enjoy popularity not only at home but also in bars and restaurants, where their convenience makes them a favorite among both customers and bartenders.

Before you launch your canned cocktail, it’s important to understand how to categorize it according to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations. The TTB divides alcoholic beverages into specific classes and types, and both must be included on the front label. The TTB’s recognized cocktail list, found in Chapter 4 of the Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM), includes specific formulations for classic cocktails like margaritas, manhattans and martinis. If you choose to name your beverage after one of these cocktails, you must adhere to the exact ingredients specified by the TTB. Alternatively, you can use a slightly different name for your cocktail and declare a different class on the label.

Labeling requirements for canned cocktails

To ensure compliance with TTB regulations, here are the key elements that must be included on your canned cocktail labels:

  • Class and type: Clearly state the class and type of the beverage on the front label. For instance, a wine-based product designed to taste like a margarita can be labeled as a “margarita cocktail” if its ABV is 6% or less and classified as a “wine product.”
  • Ingredient list: Ingredients must be listed prominently on the front label, beginning with the phrase “made with.” Each ingredient has to be given equal emphasis to prevent highlighting more appealing components.
  • Additional disclosures: You’ll need to include other disclosures for items like color additives, including a separate disclosure for FD&C Yellow 5 if used, wood flavoring (unless the beverage was barrel-aged or used brandy infused with oak chips), saccharin disclosure and sulfite declarations, age statements for whiskey less than four years old, brandy less than two years old, and other distilled spirits with age or distillation dates and state of distillation for whiskey made in the United States.
  • Nutritional and allergen information: If your beverage is wine with less than 7% alcohol or beer not made with malted barley and hops, it falls under FDA regulation. This means you must include an FDA-compliant Nutrition Facts label.

 Beverages with flavorings

For beverages that use flavorings, a Flavor Ingredient Data Sheet (FIDS) is required for TTB approval. The FIDS must include detailed information about the flavors used, such as the manufacturer, flavor name, alcohol content and natural/artificial designations. This document ensures that all flavor components meet regulatory standards.

Navigating the labeling requirements for canned cocktails can be complex, but understanding these guidelines is crucial for bringing a compliant product to market. With the right information and preparation, you can successfully launch your canned cocktails and tap into this thriving market—and with the right Quadrel labeling system, labeling your line has never been easier. Contact our team today to learn more about our systems and which is right for you.