The Use of Conspicuous Net Content Statements
on Odd Size Malt Beverage Containers
To members of the brewing industry
and others concerned:
1. When Regulations No. 7, Relating to Labeling and Advertising of
Malt Beverages, were adopted in 1936, no provisions were made for standards of fill, as was the case initially with the distilled spirits
labeling regulations and later with the wine labeling regulations so
far as domestic wines are concerned. The omission of such standards
from the malt beverage labeling requirements apparently resulted from
the fact that containers for these products seemed well standardized
and, with the exception of specialties and negligible quantities of
beer and ale packaged in so-called "splits," were predominantly limited
to the twelve-ounce, quart and two-quart containers, with the elevenounce container being used in limited areas of the West. This situation
has continued relatively unchanged until quite recently.
2. Late in 1954, however, certain new containers, differing in net
contents from the traditional cans and bottles, began to appear upon
the market. One of these was the four-fifths quart and others were the
ten and eleven-ounce cans. It has been rumored that still other sizes
may make their appearance before long.
3. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division is considering the advisability of holding a hearing looking toward the adoption of standards
of fill for malt beverages, the determination as to which will be
dependent, in part, on the results of a consumer survey which is now
being undertaken. Pending a decision in this matter and effective
immediately, the new odd size containers will be required to bear very
large and conspicuous statements of net contents on their labels in
order to minimize any consumer deception which may result from the
consumer's relative lack of familiarity with these sizes and their
confusion in his mind with similar and larger containers to which he
is accustomed. It is considered that the mere blowing of the net
contents statement in the base of a glass bottle does not constitute
sufficient conspicuousness in the case of these new sizes, but that the
statement should appear in large type upon a neck or other front label
and that, in the case of cans, the statement should appear with striking
conspicuousness a horizontal rather than a vertical position. All cans and labels for the new small sizes should be presented to the Division
for approval, regardless of the instructions on the label application
farm (Form 1647), and will henceforth be judged by these standards.
Labels and cans already in use should be appropriately revised with
all possible promptness.
4. Inquiries in regard to this industry circular should refer to
the number thereof and the symbols 0:AT:B.
Dwight E. Avis,
Director, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division.