backResponsible drinking

The WSTA is committed to providing consumers with information about the health impacts of alcohol. We are dedicated to working with our members to ensure that alcohol is labelled responsibly and sold in a responsible manner.

The following information is designed to support members and consumers to understand more about the contents of products and the impact of alcohol on your health.


Industry Guidance for Communicating Alcohol and Health-related Information

The WSTA has worked together with other trade associations to produce advice on how to communicate health related information to consumers, including on alcohol labels. This includes details on how to label consistently for voluntary health and social responsibility information. The full guidance is available here.

Although it is not compulsory for members to include alcohol and health related information on their labels the WSTA recommend that members include the following wherever possible:

  1. Unit alcohol content per container (and optional per typical serve)
  2. Pregnancy logo/message
  3. Active signposting to drinkaware.co.uk

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) published revised lower risk drinking guidelines in 2016. These outlined recommendations for consumption to keep your risk of alcohol harm low. You can find more details about the CMOs’ lower risk drinking guidelines on the Drinkaware website here or from the Department of Health here.

For members that choose to include the Chief Medical Officer’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines there should be no variation to the following wording:

The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend adults do not regularly drink more than 14 units per week.

From 1st September, labels that include the old CMO guidelines should not be applied to products.  Products already on the market prior to 1st September, can continue to be sold through with the old guidelines.

International drinking guidelines

It is important that producers note that the UK Chief Medical Officer Guidelines are only applicable to the UK market. Other countries have different definitions of units and different guidelines on lower risk consumption and this information may therefore vary from market to market. The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking has brought together a comprehensive list of the guidelines available in other key markets around the world. This is available here.

WSTA Labelling Guide

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s labelling guide is available to download for all members of the WSTA. The guide sets out the legal and voluntary considerations that alcohol producers and retailers should have regard for and provides examples of how labels should look for both wines and spirits. The guide is available here.

Calorie information

The WSTA is committed to providing a greater level of information to consumers about the drinks that they consume. To help increase awareness of the calorie content of a range of products the WSTA has brought together the following calorie content guide.

The guide provides typical values for the amount of calories in a variety of alcohol products. While the actual values may differ slightly from the products below, this is designed to be a general guide to the number of calories you are likely to find in a standard version of each drink.

The figures are based on McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods Integrated dataset, data from responsible drinking.eu and The Brewers of Europe and is based on the UK definition of a unit being 10 ml/8g of pure alcohol. Drinkaware have extensive information on responsible drinking and calorie information, which can be found here.