In a move that is likely to resonate throughout the alcoholic beverage community for months to come, Diageo Plc, the world’s largest distillery, has announced that they will soon begin placing product labels on several of their beverages which will contain valuable nutritional information for consumers. The first beverages to contain these labels will include Tanqueray gin, Smirnoff Vodka and Guinness.
Diageo currently overseas operations in 180 countries, many of which feature unique laws related to beverage merchandising and packaging. Diageo recently announced that they have already gained approval from the US, one of their largest target markets, for the new labelling conventions.
When asked to discuss these planned changes, Diageo’s Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes declared that his company’s intentions have always been aligned with the consumer, stating, “Consumers are increasingly discerning about what’s in their glass…We are committed to ensuring our consumers have the best possible information from which to make informed choices.”
When a company as large as Diageo Plc undertakes such changes, the world is bound to take notice, as are Diageo’s competitors within their industry. Although it remains to be seen whether or not other distilleries will attempt to emulate this tactic, the point remains that labelling efforts such as these will, ultimately, be an inevitable and unavoidable element of product marketing. Currently, food and beverage labelling reforms are occurring in countries around the world. It seems likely that it is only a matter of time before activist groups and governments begin to actively target alcoholic beverages within their regulatory agenda.
This perspective could have prompted Diageo Plc to simply adopt a proactive approach on an issue with they deem impossible to ignore. Regardless, their bold, self-initiated steps towards reforming the labelling standards on their beverages is likely to resonate strongly with the international community.
Ian Duncan, member of the EU’s environment, health and safety committee, commented on Diageo’s recent actions, stating, “[This is] major improvement on the confusing current system, where there are different measurements of alcohol units across the EU.”
Ultimately, Diageo Plc has scored an impressive PR victory with their drink labels. This will mark the beginning of an interesting new era for the world’s most talked-about distillery.