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WSTA unveils low-and-no labelling guide

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has created a guide for producers on labelling and marketing no- and low-alcohol products to ensure clarity across the burgeoning category.

The low- and no-alcohol sector has welcomed a swathe of new entrants in the past year
The low- and no-alcohol sector has welcomed a swathe of new entrants in the past year

The WSTA produced the guide in partnership with its Primary Authority Trading Standards partners after receiving requests from producers and retailers.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “There has been a huge amount of innovation and product development across the low- and no-alcohol category in recent years. Confusion – for producers and for consumers – led to a request of the WSTA to pull together comprehensive advice. Along with our Primary Authority partners, we have produced this new guide to help both producers and consumers.”

The WSTA said its recent Market Report showed that overall alcohol sales are down compared to the same 12-month period last year, with spirits witnessing flat sales.

Beale added: “We know that overall alcohol sales fell during 2020. Many Brits want to start 2021 by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink, or cutting it out completely, which is why I am delighted to have been able to publish this guidance so early in the year.

“Many of our members are making it easier than ever for us to choose a lower-alcohol, or no-alcohol alternative, without compromising on taste or quality. Our new guidance will help producers label and market their products with greater confidence, and will help promote clear, accurate and consistent labelling across the category, boosting consumer confidence.”

The trade association said that many new entrants to the category ‘closely resemble’ alcoholic products in taste, aroma and appearance. As such, the new guidance seeks to determine acceptable legal names, marketing text and general labelling requirements for low- and no-alcohol drinks.

The guide aims to provide clarity and certainty for producers when it comes to labelling and marketing their products correctly.

Furthermore, the guide seeks to bolster consumer confidence in the category through clear, accurate and consistent labelling. The WSTA said this was a concern for retailers who wanted the trade group to provide instruction that could be applied across the UK.

The new advice has been designed to complement existing and future low-alcohol descriptor guidance produced by the UK government’s Department of Health and Social Care.

To see the guide, visit

In September last year, trade body The Gin Guild threatened legal action against the producers of Red Storm and Ocean Storm for “wrongly labelling” the spirits as ‘gin’.

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