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Legal & Finance

               Lots, Codes, and Life:

               Dating in the Beer Industry

               By: Erik Myers
                A       s the number of active breweries in the            Why Is Date Coding Important?

                        country exceeds 7000 and roars toward
                        8000, it’s more important than ever to
                        consider one of the crucial facets of your     The easiest answer to this question is because you
                                                                    must. It’s the law. In the unfortunate situation that
               packaged product: shelf life, and how to commu-      your brewery – or one of your suppliers – might
               nicate it to your customer. It’s not just marketing;   have to recall product from the market, having date
               date lot coding and traceability is required by      lot coding that is on every package, is easy to find,
               the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under the      and easy to understand will allow your staff and
               Bioterrorism Act of 2002. However, the exact meth-   every downstream partner, whether it’s a distribu-
               od of recording date lot codes is ultimately up to   tor or a retailer, to comply with the recall efficiently
               each individual brewer, and there is a vast array of   and ultimately save you headaches and money.
               practices in the industry that can ensure that your
               customer knows how fresh your beer is, and that        It’s also a great tool that your sales force–or your
               you’re in compliance with federal code at the same   distributor–can use to be sure that beer in the
               time.                                                market is as fresh as possible, it can help with FIFO

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