'Keep Beer Real' campaign launched

Brewers ask consumers to get involved in flavored malt beverage debate

Aug 8, 2003 - The Brewers Association of America, Beer Institute and Association of Brewers have mounted a campaign seeking support from both brewers and consumers for a proposed change in the rule defining flavored malt beverages, also know at malternatives or FMBs.


The proposal published by the Tax and Trade Bureau calls for a standard under which less than 0.5% (one half of one percent) of the alcohol in a flavored malt beverage can be derived from distilled alcohol.

Under this proposed rule, products that contain .5% or more distilled alcohol by volume will be taxed and classified as distilled spirits produced at a distilled-spirits plant, taxed at the rate applicable to distilled-spirits products, labeled and advertised as a distilled-spirits specialty, and distributed by persons holding basic permits as wholesalers of distilled spirits.

The manufacture of certain FMB's containing a high percentage of distilled alcohol has provoked a political battle between the beer and liquor industries over whether these products should be taxed and treated like beer.

In a letter at the BAA's "90/10 Action Site" association president Daniel Bradford tells consumers:

"You're someone who appreciates the variety and unique style of beer being brewed by America's small, independent breweries. Now you have a chance to help defend those breweries and their continued ability to make some of the world's finest beer."

The banners advertising the campaign say, "Keep Beer Real - Help Breweries Fight for Beer Integrity." The site includes a primer on how to submit comments.