Alcohol Beverages Regulations by FSSAI

Alcohol Beverages Regulations by FSSAI

Alcohol Beverages Regulations by FSSAI

“Alcoholic beverage” means a beverage or liquor or a brew containing more than 0.5 percent abv. The ethanol used in the production of alcoholic beverage shall be of agricultural origin.

“Distilled alcoholic beverage” means a distilled beverage, spirit, or liquor containing ethanol that is made by distilling ethanol produced by fermentation of cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, molasses or any other source of carbohydrates of agricultural origin

“Ethyl alcohol or Ethanol” means a transparent, colorless, flammable, volatile liquid miscible with water, ether or chloroform and obtained by the fermentation of carbohydrates with yeast. Ethyl alcohol has the chemical formula C2H5OH, has a burning taste, and causes intoxication on consumption.

FSSAI has released new standards for alcoholic beverages to ensure health and safety for consumers. The regulations set the new benchmark for quality. It also harmonizes the Indian standards with the International standards to facilitate trade.

Earlier the standards existed only for one alcoholic beverage i.e. Toddy, the new standards define and prescribe specifications for all the alcoholic beverages such as brandy, gin, rum, vodka, whisky, wines, beer etc. The standards specify special labeling requirements to ensure consumer awareness. The move from FSSAI has been welcomed by all the stakeholders, who find this as a door to the new opportunities in the unexplored market of Alcoholic Beverages in India. 

The alcoholic beverages have been categorized as per their characteristics for the ease of defining and implementing the standards. Beverages such as Brandy, Country Liquors, Feni, Gin, Rum, Vodka, Liqueur, Whisky, and Pot-still distilled spirit with their sub-types have been defined under the category of Distilled Alcoholic Beverages. A separate section of Wine and other fermented beverages has been mentioned which includes the standards for Table Wine, Sparkling Wines, Fortified Wines as well as Wines from fruits other than grapes. Beer and its types have a separate section, where the standards for types of Beer such as Lager, Ale, Stout, Porter and Draught Beer has been defined.


A separate section of labelling requirements has been mentioned in the standards. The key labeling requirements for alcoholic beverages include: Declaration of alcohol content; Standard drink label; allergen warning; and the following statutory warning:

FSSAI has also imposed various restrictions on the labelling of alcoholic beverages. The regulations prohibit the display of nutritional information or health claims on the label. The use of words such as ‘non-intoxicating’ or words implying similar meaning has also been restricted. The labels for wine shall state geographical indication, variety of grapes used, and the name of residues of preservatives or additives present in the final product.

The alcoholic beverages sector in India is growing rapidly. The boom in the industry can already be seen with the large number of breweries and brands with different types Beers entering into the Indian market. The increasing number of new entrepreneurs investing in this industry, the authorities have started taking measures to make sure that the alcoholic beverage businesses are regulated and in compliance with the regulations. The major brands are partnering with the experienced regulatory experts and consultants in the Food Industry to deliver 100% compliance with the regulations by April 2019.