In the wake of a May 28 announcement, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has announced its plan to allow alcohol manufacturers to print nutrition facts on their labels.

The TTB has been involved with the issue of printing Serving Facts on alcohol containers since 2004, and since then the organization's policies have focused heavily on providing more information to alcohol consumers.

In 2007, the TTB proposed a rule in the Federal Register entitled "Labeling and Advertising of Wines, Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages," for which a decision is still pending. However, the organization has recently disclosed their plan for voluntary labeling - a step that some experts say moves in a direction that favors both manufacturer and consumer.

"What's interesting to me is that the reason why beverage companies want it and consumers want it is totally different," said Sara Bleich, a health policy professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "It's an example of two groups having different goals while having a sweet spot that seems to work for both."

Beverage companies see the policy as a way to tap into more health-conscious consumers, while those already consuming alcohol are looking for better information regarding their consumption.

The ruling is not without its limitations.

Alcohol served at restaurants, bars, and other venues, often strays from standard measurements and serving sizes. Bartenders pour drinks that may contain more alcohol - in greater quantities - or could contain more sugar depending on the size of the mixed drink.

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, only two less than fat's 9. Protein, meanwhile, contains 4 calories per gram.

Some experts remain skeptical as to the true impact labeling could have, as the majority of some people's consumption takes place where labels are not available.

"I think more calories come from alcohol than people think," said dietitian Jessica Bennett, who works at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "I definitely think it's going to be interesting to see how it goes."

The TTB remains wholly supportive in the mission for nutritional transparency.

"TTB believes that it is appropriate to allow the use of optional Serving Facts statements on labels and in advertisements on an interim basis pending the completion of rulemaking," the organization announced late last month. "We are making this change to allow industry members to provide truthful, accurate, and specific information to consumers about the nutrient content of their products on a per serving basis."

Part of the TTB's prior hesitance in issuing this rule stemmed from the concern of alcohol manufacturers printing information that would mislead consumers. Pending the decision on mandatory alcohol labeling, the TTB encourages bottlers to print as much nutrition information as possible without misleading the consumer.

The TTB also acknowledges the policy could be unattractive in part to bottlers, because it likely requires reprinting the products' labels.

In the meantime, consumers can use the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food-A-Pedia to compare the nutrition facts of their favorite foods to alcohol, to see how each beverage stacks up with the rest of their diet.