As Thanksgiving celebrations begin, we at Grouse have spent a little time reflecting on this past year and all that we’re thankful for. To our farmers and customers, we are grateful. Our mentors, supporters, friends, and team members – with a big heart and much cheer – we are forever thankful for you.
One thing that has been critical on this gluten-free journey is, drum roll please, knowledge. Without it… without information being presented and available to make decisions… we know we wouldn’t be where we are today. In thinking about where we might be without this invaluable yet intangible “thing” that we find ourselves so grateful for – we came up with a great, yet simple, example. The knowledge that emerges from food labeling. That’s right – labeling – information for consumers in the form of written food and beverage labels that serve to inform our decisions about what we consume and feed our families on a daily basis. Without this information, especially for those who suffers from an allergy or intolerance, how can we be certain we want to eat a food item?
In some instances, labeling on food and beverages is NOT mandatory. Depending on where you live, items at a farmers market might not be labeled and certainly restaurants vary greatly on how they provide nutritional information. More often than not, alcoholic beverages contain little or no ingredient label. The FDA has never enforced ingredient labeling of any kind. So we begin to ask ourselves…
- Is it OK that there may be artificial coloring or added sugar in my wine?
- Does my Moscow Mule have vodka made from neutral grain spirits or alcohol distilled from actual potatoes?
- Are any malted grains or just processed syrups used to make my oatmeal stout?
The truth is, without alcoholic beverage ingredient labeling, the questions regarding what it is we are consuming are vast and largely unanswered. Transparency in the alcoholic beverage community is lacking and it may be time to rethink what consumers want and deserve to know.
Luckily, in this age of readily-available information, we can communicate fairly easily with our producers. We’ve found that those producers and manufacturers who are proud of their ingredients are most eager to tell us exactly what is in their products, and some even opt in to voluntarily listing their ingredients on the packaging.
This holiday season, as we celebrate friends and family with gleeful consumption of delicious foods and beverages, we invite you to think twice about what you’re eating, drinking and serving those you love. We challenge you to ask yourself a few questions… What good, wholesome ingredients are in what I’m eating and serving? Am I excited to put this food on my table?