According to regulatory sources, alcoholic coolers have been included in the food safety standards since 2018. However, recently, ‘Low-Alcohol Beverages/Ready-to-Drink Products’ have been separately defined, including their specific safety standards. Officials of the authority clarified that this is an amendment to the standards and does not alter the existing definitions.
As per the recently released notification, ‘Ready-to-Drink’ or low-alcohol beverages should have a lower alcohol content. Flavored coolers should contain alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 0.5% to 8%. They can be produced from a mixture of spirits, wine, beer, or other alcoholic coolers.
The primary basis for this is that they should be labeled as natural or artificially flavored and comply with the FSSAI (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, and/or contain juice of fruits or vegetables with or without sugar/salt, along with or without carbonation.
Industry experts have welcomed this step, stating that the creation of a distinct category for low-alcohol beverages and ready-to-drink products provides greater clarity within the price range for each of them.
In the same notification, FSSAI clarified the components of country liquor or Indian-made foreign liquor. It is defined as an alcoholic beverage produced through distillation of fermented carbohydrates derived from sugarcane, jaggery, a mixture of grains, potatoes, cassava, fruits, coconut toddy, mahua flowers, or any other agricultural produce.
Furthermore, it specifically states that plain country liquor or plain Indian-made foreign liquor is the one produced by fermenting molasses, sugarcane juice, grains, potatoes, cassava, fruits, coconut toddy, mahua flowers, or any other agricultural produce followed by distillation.