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The Law And Beer Tap Handle Labeling

By Andle's Tap handles

Having legal compliant beer tap handle labeling and identification is often an afterthought or sometimes not even a consideration by many establishments. But it should be. Not only because it’s the law, but also because it just makes for better business. In this article we are going to discuss the law surrounding beer tap handle labeling as well as why it makes for better business, we are also going to provide a popular and current case study which highlights some of the severe consequences of not adhering to the labeling laws.


Beer Tap Handle Labeling And The Law


In Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico each state has the authority to regulate the production, sale and distribution of alcohol within its borders. This means that on top of the federal requirements for selling beer, you may have to deal with state and local jurisdictions. The laws and regulations vary widely from state to state and province to province and you must meet all of the requirements, including some often very eccentric or stringent local requirements in order to be able to sell craft beers. You must meet all state and local requirements in any state where you plan to do business (unless Federal law preempts the state law). If you plan to do business in a state, you must contact its appropriate authorities for more information about the state and local requirements. A lot of information has been provided by the official TBB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Bureau ) web site, here is a link to a directory which lists the contact information and website links for alcohol beverage authorities in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico:


Below are some examples of current laws about tap handle labels in various states;



In California, the Business and Professions Code Section 225200-25206 requires that no retailer shall dispense any draught beer without a proper tap sign or the department may seize and dispose of the beer.





The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission states that no brand of wine or beer may be drawn through brand-identified taps accept the beer or wine brand identified on that tap. 




The Colorado Department of revenue Liquor Enforcement Division approves the dispensing of beer by guns or taps when product is clearly marked with only name of product dispensed from that specific tap; it is a crime to identify one product and sell another to the consumer or mix products with each other.



The Minnesota Public Safety Department requires that malt beverages must be dispensed by tap from the keg when the keg itself is not in sight, provided that the brand label appears on the tap handle.

So as you can see, the laws for the labeling of beer by tap do vary from state to state and it is your responsibility as a vendor to contact the appropriate authorities for more information about state and local requirements. However, obtaining information on the specific state and local requirements has become markedly easier in recent years due the wealth of information provided on the official site of the TBB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Bureau ). Here is a link to the part of the TBB site that refers specifically to beer labeling.


In almost all instances you will find that customizable beer taps are the answer when it comes to providing proper identification of the product and proof that you are not mixing products to sell them. The onus is on you not to break the law with regards to this and to make sure that your beer tap handles are labeled with the information needed by law before you order them.


Legal Compliant, Accurate Beer Tap Labeling May Also Mean Good Business. Beyond it being a legal requirement, there is another benefit to labeling your beverage taps accurately and in detail. The benefit being is that it may actually be better for business in general. Allow us to explain. As alluded to by, providing accurate information about the type and strength of the beer on the tap label will help consumers make more educated and informed choices, especially if they are to be driving or operating heavy machinery later on that day.

The counter argument is that this extra information may in fact hinder business, as notes, that if the labels on alcohol percentage were present then “drinkers of light larger—Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light”, may then realize that the “light” beers they are drinking are typically 4.2% BV, something which the site states they “don’t always know” – and some establishment fear them knowing this may negatively impact sales.


We leave you now with a cautionary tale. Although this does not refer directly to beer tap labeling it does go a long way in illustrating the harsh punishment for mislabeling, misscommunicating or not displaying accurate and relevant information for alcoholic products. We are talking about the recent lawsuit successfully filed against Becks Beer.

In a nutshell, they were said to have “tricked consumers into thinking Beck’s was a German beer” when in fact the beer, although once made in Germany, has actually been made in St. Louis since 2012. The trickery in question was achieved via their labeling and packaging which said things like “Originated in Bremen, Germany”. The company was successfully sued for millions.

I hope this article has successfully stressed that correct beer tap labeling is not just a “good thing to do”, but is actually the law. And we hope that us providing some of the laws on beer tap labeling for a number of areas in the US gives you some idea on what the laws are but more importantly that the laws are different for different states and areas of the US. Do bear in mind that the laws can change so we strongly urge you to double check the information we have provided in this article against official sources to make sure it is still correct and accurate when it comes time for you to use it.

As stressed in the article; it is up to you to find out the law for beer tap labeling for the state(s) and area(s) that are relevant to you and to adhere to them at all times. A lot of information has been provided by the official TBB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Bureau ) web site. Here is the link again to the part of their site that refers specifically to beer tap and beer labeling in general,      Further, I hope our section on the other benefit of beer tap labeling was interesting and that our providing of the cautionary tale of the severe consequences of incorrect, misleading or inaccurate alcohol labeling of any kind was eye opening and illuminating. So we hope you found this article interesting, informative and useful and thank you for taking the time to read it.


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