Know Your No From Your Low
With the increased popularity of low alcohol drinks, there are now many on offer in the UK, but many of these have different descriptions about their alcohol content. Some people ask if these descriptions are important and the simple answer is yes.
Within the UK, there are legal definitions for the terms used to describe reduced alcohol drinks.
Inconsistent Rules on Alcohol Free
However, the problem that UK producers have is these rules are inconsistent with those for overseas producers. They are able to follow the rules in their home country which enables them to label their drinks as Alcohol Free with a different abv, usually up to 0.5%.
Until the labelling laws from 1996 (see link below) are reviewed with a view to levelling the playing field, the current definitions are:
Low alcoholA drink with an alcohol by volume (abv) of above 0.5% but not more than 1.2%.
De-alcoholisedA drink from which the alcohol has been extracted and which has an abv of not more than 0.5%.
A drink with an abv of not more than 0.05%
Note: These definitions have been taken from the Portman Group’s * Communication of Alcoholic Strength.
Or for a really dry ** read, you can refer to UK Food Labelling Regulations 1996 Regulation 42(1) and Schedule 8 Part I for the full definitions.
* The Portman Group is the responsibility body for drinks producers in the UK. Their role is to lead on best practice in alcohol social responsibility through the actions of member companies. They regulate the promotion and packaging of alcoholic drinks sold or marketed in the UK through their Code of Practice.
** Dry read ... Get it?! ... it's a read about being alcohol free ... OK, we’re sorry. Luckily our drinks are better than our jokes.