Beer manufacturers are regulated differently than food manufacturers and are thus not required to disclose what goes into the making of their products. So why would Anheuser- Busch volunteer this information? Several reasons could be cited, but the tipping point was a food blogger known as Food Babe who started an online petition asking Anheuser- Busch and the other big brewers to list their ingredients. Anheuser- Busch took the lead and now lists ingredients for most, but not all, of its beers on the web site tapintoyourbeer.com.
Food Babe blogger Vani Hari was thrilled with the prompt response.
"It's pretty amazing that making your voice heard can change the policies of a multibillion-dollar company overnight," said Hari.
Hari says she created the petition because her husband is a beer drinker and she was rightfully concerned about the ingredients that comprise a typical Budweiser, Miller, or Coors. The Treasury Department oversees alcoholic beverages, not the Food and Drug Administration, as many believe. Current laws require all foods and beverages to include a nutrition label but this applies only to those items regulated by the FDA.
Hari made a name for herself earlier this year when she convinced fast food giant Subway to discontinue adding a controversial ingredient to its bread. She was also successful with a petition to Kraft Foods, asking the consumer giant to eliminate artificial colors from some of its macaroni and cheese products. She has a strong track record of success and with such easy cooperation from a global giant like Anheuser- Busch InBev there is no reason for Hari to slow down.
Activists on different levels have been pressuring the U.S. Government to require ingredient lists on beer and other adult beverages for decades, but with little success. A large percentage of craft brewers have voluntarily listed ingredients directly on their brewery web sites but the big brewers resisted until now. This led many to suspect that the big brewers were hiding something, but Anheuser- Busch has demonstrated a surprising bend toward transparency.
Anheuser- Busch InBev says it will include ingredients in all of its beer products at tapintoyourbeer.com very soon. Expect the other big brewers, Miller and Coors, to follow suit in due time.