Labelling Requirements for Alcoholic Beverages
Product Specific Information for Liqueur
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Common Name for Liqueur
When the flavour is shown on the label of a liqueur, the flavour designation becomes part of the common name and therefore should be grouped with the word "liqueur". When there is no indication of the flavour, the word "liqueur" suffices as the common name.
- Liqueur with Cream
- An alcoholic beverage is not permitted to use the common name "liqueur" if it contains cream as an ingredient, as cream is not permitted in the liqueur standard [B.02.070, FDR]. Cream cannot be added indirectly as a flavouring preparation as it is not considered to be a flavouring preparation. Any addition of cream makes the final product an unstandardized alcoholic beverage which requires a list of ingredients. A word such as "liquor" could be used in the common name of such an unstandardized alcoholic beverage.
- Fruit Spirit with Added Maple Syrup
- A product made from fruit spirit and 13% pure maple syrup may not be described as a "liqueur" or "maple flavoured liqueur" as it does not meet the standard of composition for a liqueur in the Food and Drug Regulations [B.02.070, FDR]. The following common names would be acceptable: "fruit spirit with maple syrup" or "maple flavoured liquor".
- Liqueur Made from Artificial Flavour
- An alcoholic beverage made only from alcohol, a sweetening agent and artificial flavour may not be called a "liqueur" because it does not conform to the standard for liqueurs [B.02.070, FDR]. However, an alcoholic beverage made solely from alcohol, a sweetening agent and a natural flavour may be called a liqueur, as natural flavour is a "preparation of sapid or odorous principles or both, derived from the plant after which the flavour is named" [B.10.005, FDR], and thus fulfils the liqueur standard.
Use of the Term "Dry" for Liqueur
The minimum sugar content required for liqueurs is 2.5 percent [B.02.070(b), FDR]. Although the level in many liqueurs is often well beyond this minimum, it is questionable whether the term "dry" is a meaningful description.
See also Use of the Term "Dry" for general information on dry claims for all alcoholic beverages.
Light Liqueurs Comparison Statements (Lower Alcohol Claim)
When making a comparative claim for the reduction in percent alcohol on the label of a light liqueur, the base point of 23% alcohol could be used, as this is the minimum level required by the standard for liqueurs [B.02.070, FDR]. A comparative statement to the effect that the product "Contains at least (X) % less alcohol than regular/standard liqueurs" would then be accurate. If, however, comparison is made to a specific brand, then the actual alcohol content of that brand should be used for comparison. Representations that characterize the amount of alcohol in alcoholic beverages that contain more than 0.5% alcohol are provided for in B.01.502(2)(j) of the FDR. The percentage difference stated in the comparative claim must be accurate and not misleading.
See also Comparative Claims on the Quality and Composition page for additional information.
Light Liqueurs with Non-nutritive Sweetening Ingredients (Reduced Energy Claim)
A liqueur that differs from the standard in that it is sweetened with a non-nutritive sweetener such as sucralose may be described as a "light liqueur", if the product meets the requirements for the nutrient content claim "light" by meeting the conditions for a "reduced in energy" claim. The "Light" Claims section outlines the compositional and labelling criteria that must be met, including the provision of supporting information for the light claim.
This claim causes a loss of exemption from the Nutrition Facts table requirement for the product [B.01.401(3)(e)(ii), FDR].
The following requirements apply in this case, in addition to the basic labelling requirements for alcoholic beverages:
- An accurate common name must be used. If the term liqueur is used in the common name, it must be qualified to indicate how it differs from the standard for liqueur in the Food and Drug Regulations [B.02.070, FDR], e.g. "Light Liqueur Sweetened with Sucralose". See Modified Standardized Common Names for more information.
- The label must comply with the labelling requirements for foods containing a sweetener.
- A list of ingredients is required since this product deviates from the standard for "liqueur" [B.01.009(1), FDR]. See List of Ingredients – Alcoholic Beverages.
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