Why is Bud Light listing ingredients on the label?
The decision is shrewd on a couple fronts. Per the company's press release, the label says Bud Light contains 110 calories in every 12-ounce can. That information appears under the short list of ingredients, which simply reads, "water, barley, rice, hops."
The calorie count will likely appeal to drinkers keeping an eye on their caloric intake. It's definitely fewer calories than the IPA you're drinking from your favorite local brewery. The company is also getting some praise for being the first to do this. It has even launched an ad campaign around the initiative set in the Realm of Dilly Dilly. (Oh yes, that's still happening.)
That last point matters because Anheuser Busch agreed to start adding serving facts and freshness code dating back in July 2016. At that time, the Beer Institute, a trade group that represents big breweries like MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Constellation Brands, agreed to voluntarily add serving facts and freshness codes to the beers of all the breweries in the organization by 2020. Despite the huge increase in the number of craft brewers in the U.S., the Beer Institute's breweries represent more than 80% of the beer sold in the U.S.
Craft breweries have had their own packaging issues lately. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (TTB), which approves labeling for beers, wines, and spirits, is closed due to the government shutdown. That has caused many headaches for craft brewers, some of which have had to delay new beer releases or have delayed plans to open new taprooms. However, a representative from Bud Light confirmed that this hasn't been an issue for the big brewer. Secondary packaging isn't subjected to the same approval process as cans and bottles.
For now, it's something of a novelty you'll start to see at the liquor store in the coming weeks. But it won't be long before this is the standard, and you're going to have to face the reality that your favorite, dlicious craft beer is loaded with calories.