Simplifying regulations and allowing for greater innovation in Canada’s beer industry

The Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) outline specific requirements that must be met for a product to be labeled, packaged, sold, and advertised as beer in Canada. The changes to the FDR support business competitiveness by allowing Canadian companies more flexibility in what they use to make beer and how they do it.

This enables Canada’s beer industry to create new and innovative products and gives consumers more variety in their choices when it comes to beer. It also provides clarity on what constitutes standardized beer. Brewers will be able to develop new products by using new ingredients and flavoring preparations while maintaining the integrity of the beer.

In addition, under the amended regulations, beer labels must declare food allergens, gluten sources, or added sulfites. This will help Canadians with food allergies, celiac disease, or food sensitivities make more informed choices.

The new standard aligns with the Government of Canada’s commitment to regulatory reform focussed on supporting innovation under Budget 2018 and the 2018 Fall Economic Statement. The goal is to make Canada’s regulatory system more agile, transparent, and responsive to allow businesses to act on new opportunities while continuing to protect Canadians’ health and safety.

Quotes

“These changes demonstrate our Government’s commitment to simplifying regulations so that they work better for businesses. A modernized beer standard allows Canadian brewers to develop a new range of products that meet the tastes of our consumers. These changes will help our beer industry grow, creating good middle class jobs in communities across Canada.”

– Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The new labelling changes serve to protect consumer health. Food allergies and intolerances are a real concern and safety issue for many Canadians. The requirement to have beer labels clearly state if food allergens, gluten sources, or sulphites are present in the product will give consumers assurance that the beer they drink will not pose a risk to their health because of a food allergy or food sensitivity.”

– Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“The changes to Canada’s Beer Standard will support industry innovation and will ensure beer is treated as distinct from other beverage alcohol categories for decades to come. We are pleased to see that the changes permit the use of new ingredients and recognize beer as a beverage alcohol product that is low in sugars. We applaud the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s efforts to support Canada’s brewing industry and look forward to future opportunities to work together to grow the domestic beer market.”

– Luke Harford, President, Beer Canada

“The new labelling requirements for standard beer is a welcome change and one that will have a positive impact on Canadians living with food allergies and celiac disease. Having complete and accurate allergen ingredient disclosure on food products and beverages, including beer, will provide those at-risk with the information they need to make informed, safe choices. We look forward to continuing our collaborations with Health Canada on food labelling.”

– Jennifer Gerdts, Executive Director, Food Allergy Canada

Quick facts

  • The changes to the FDR are the result of extensive consultations with consumers, brewers, and other stakeholders and will be applied by December 14, 2022. Until that date, Canadian brewers and beer importers must follow either the previous or the new requirements.
  • The modernized beer standard is supported by brewers as it reduces duplication in the FDR by having one compositional standard for all beers, regardless of type or style (such as ale, stout, porter and malt liquor). It also provides clarity on what constitutes standardized beer.
  • Food compositional standards set out the criteria that define a particular food, often with its associated common name, for example, beer, jam, or bread. There are over 300 food standards in the FDR.
  • Beer is Canada’s most popular alcoholic drink, making up 40.6% of the total sales of alcoholic beverages in 2016-2017.
  • Domestic brewers produce 84% of the beer purchased in Canada.
  • The number of beer brewing facilities in Canada increased to 817 in 2017, from 695 in 2016.

 

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