Food labelling e-learning course


An ABV indication on a wine bottle

Alcoholic beverages must be marked with their alcoholic strength where this is above 1.2%. Otherwise, only a reduced number of the FIC mandatory particulars are required. Additional particulars can be provided voluntarily. In most cases, the FIC rules for mandatory information must be followed when particulars are voluntarily given.

The actual alcoholic strength by volume should be given(as determined when the product is at 20°C). For most products, the figure must be given to not more than one decimal place and be followed by '% vol.'. Permissible tolerances are stipulated in Annex XII of the FIC. The figure may also be preceded by the word 'alcohol' or the abbreviation 'alc'. The minimum font size must be used for this. For wine (including fortified wine) from fresh grapes, the figure must be indicated in whole or half percentage points and again followed by '% vol.' The figure may be preceded by 'actual alcoholic strength', 'actual alcohol' or 'alc'. The font heights vary according to volume but should be at least:

  • 2 mm: 20cl or less
  • 3mm: over 20cl-100cl
  • 5mm: over 100cl.

Beyond this, as general requirements under the FIC, beverages with more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol must be labelled with:

  • A legally compliant name.
  • Any appropriate allergen information.
  • Any appropriate quantitative ingredient information.
  • A net quantity indication.
  • A durability date for some products.
  • Any particular storage conditions.
  • A business name and address.
  • An origin indication if the need is triggered.

There are additional requirements for spirit drinks and wine in specific legislation applying to those products.

Beverages with more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol and containing glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt at concentrations of 300mg/l or above due to the addition of the substance(s) or the liquorice plant, must display a cautionary statement. The statement 'contains liquorice - people suffering from hypertension should avoid excessive consumption' should accompany the legally compliant name or, if an ingredients list is voluntarily given, be given immediately after this list.

Where the concentration of glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt is between 10mg/l and 300mg/l, the statement should only be 'contains liquorice' and this is not required if the term 'liquorice' is already included in the name of the food or the ingredients list.

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