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Legal & Finance

                 Doing so, however, relies on the customer to       coding. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose the
               be educated about your product, and that might       method that you think will both comply with the
               not always be as easy as it sounds. Pete Ternes of   FDA and provide information to your customers.
               Chicago’s Middle Brow beer notes, “90% of con-       Regardless of what format you do choose, provid-
               sumers don’t know what it means for a particular     ing context and information to your customers–
               beer to have been packaged on a particular date.”    whether that customer is the distributor, the retail-
               While there are many craft beer fans who are         er, or the end consumer–as to how you arrived at
               incredibly well-educated and can ascertain which     the decision of what lot and date coding method
               beer styles can handle age and which can’t, most     you’ve chosen is the best path and can double as
               beer-drinkers don’t know the implications of a       an excellent marketing and education tool for your
               beer’s brewed or packaged-on date.                   brewery.

                 Complicating the issue is lack of consistent tem-
               perature control once product leaves the brewery.
               A brewery may post a shelf life of 45 days for an
               IPA, but not the conditions under which that shelf
               life has been ascertained or should be maintained.
               A beer with a shelf life of 45 days at 38F has a shelf
               life of only 11 days at room temperature.

                              No Easy Answers

                 Unfortunately, until an industry standard or fed-
               eral regulation is put into place, there is no easy
               answer about how to best approach lot and date

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