Posts Tagged ‘warnings’
In the past, for a long time, TTB would say no warnings are allowed, but for those mandated by Congress: “According to the Surgeon General…” (as to getting pregnant, driving and whatnot).
Slowly but surely, however, this principle is colliding with the pent-up penchant for warnings throughout society. The pregnant lady came calling about 10 years ago. Bacardi’s 151 warning goes way back. There is even this spoof of the whole fondness for warnings.
In the latest iteration, these Prop. 65 warnings are starting to pop up. Off toward the upper right the approved label says:
CA PROP 65 WARNING : SOME MATERIALS USED IN THE COLORED DECORATIONS ON THIS CONTAINER CONTAIN CADMIUM, A CHEMICAL KNOWN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS OR REPRODUCTIVE HARM.
The label approval for this beer, along with a qualification about this extra warning, is here . It seems like labels of this sort started to pop up around 2012, and so far there at least 50 such approvals (referring to Prop. 65 and things like cadmium). Here is a second, albeit Stupid, example .
Right there on the label of this beer, almost every part of it, Austin Beerworks makes it clear that you should proceed with maximum caution. You should not even think about consuming this beer with KFC, while wearing lederhosen, or while operating heavy machinery of any sort.
The label is not new, but it is a tad out of the ordinary. It pokes gentle fun at the oh so serious Government Warning Statement, mandated by Congress since the 1988 Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act . In the early years, after this Warning became required on most every beer, wine and spirits label in the U.S., it would have been essentially unthinkable, to allow any fun-poking, aimed in this general direction. To wit, one of the Government’s biggest objections to the Black Death Vodka labeling and packaging, was that it tended to mock the — oh so serious Warning. This label shows that a lot of beer has flowed under the bridge since then, and there has been a general chilling out.
It probably also helps, that the real Warning does appear at least twice, and with good, solid prominence and contrast. But, that base having been covered, Austin revs up for a snarknado. I can’t list all the snarky comments and warnings, because there are so many. But some of my personal favorites are that this beer should not be paired with:
- Eyebrow tweezing
- Edible underwear (or other underwear, such as bras)
- Putting baby in a corner
The full brand is Austin Beerworks Heavy Machinery IPA, and the approval is here . Apart from the modest legal issue noted above, I hasten to add that I have a small, personal connection to this label. Christian Helms is the man behind this label and many other high-end alcohol beverage labels. I went to see him once, in Austin, to try to get help on a big legal and design project. As he sat behind his big screen, with lots of Texas light streaming in, he was willing to talk — but he was not willing to take on the project. At any cost. In 30 years since law school, I have rarely seen a professional who won’t consider any given project, if the fee gets high enough. He was not interested, at any price. One part of me is disappointed, and the other part gives him credit for his decisiveness (not to mention his good sense when it comes to mixing beer and bro-tazing).
Please let me know if you see any other funny, or unusual warnings out there.
If you like your warnings big and graphic, you will love the alcohol beverage warnings under consideration in Thailand. The Wall Street Journal of September 17, 2010 shows the photo above, as an example of one of the warnings under consideration.
If you think it can’t happen here, take a look at this tobacco website which explains: “New legislation passed in June 2009 requires pictorial health warnings on 50% of the front and back of US cigarette packages within 24 months, in addition to a 15 month implementation window.” At least 13 countries already require graphical warnings to cover more than 50% of the cigarette pack. At least 38 countries have finalized requirements for picture warnings. The Wall Street Journal article explains:
Alcohol companies world-wide are lining up to fight a Thai plan to require graphic warning labels about alcohol on the country’s domestic and imported beer, wine and liquor bottles.
The proposed labels—which would cover 30% of the bottles’ surface area—include unusually explicit warnings about risks associated with alcohol use. One picture shows a shirtless man grasping a woman by the hair and raising his fist to hit her, accompanied by the words, “Alcohol consumption could harm yourself, children and family.”
The labels “are the most extreme we’ve ever seen,” says Brett Bivans, vice president of the International Center for Alcohol Policies, a Washington-based not-for-profit group funded by alcohol companies.
In the meantime, liquor companies worry that Thailand is about to set a dangerous precedent that other larger countries could follow. With only 65 million people, the Southeast Asian nation will never be one of the world’s biggest alcohol importers. But in 2005, it was among the first to slap graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging, such as pictures of diseased lungs. Since then, the U.K., Malaysia and other countries have followed suit.
The stakes are high enough that the U.S. government agreed to pay for a group of Thai officials to travel to Washington to meet with U.S. alcohol experts to learn about alternatives to graphic warning labels, people familiar with the plan say.
Health advocates and industry leaders have long argued about the effectiveness of warning labels on consumer products. Critics maintain that graphic labels lose their sting once consumers grow accustomed to them.
It seems like TTB has eased up on various issues in recent years, and we will try to show this trend in the weeks to come. But there are still plenty of areas where TTB is quite strict. For example, good luck if you want to talk about vitamins or beneficial effects. TTB is also quite strict about the little lady above. She’s not allowed in the US. The blue label is a non-US label. By contrast, on the white label, TTB insisted that the importer obliterate the logo. TTB said: “When new labels are printed, the pregnancy logo must not appear on label and can not appear marked-out with a black marker.”
“We do prohibit the French (or any other country’s) government health warning,” Arthur H. Resnick, spokesman for the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau said in an e-mail. “We feel that consumers are likely to be confused and possibly misled by a proliferation of government warnings.”
From The Washington Post