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Bloomberg reports that "Ireland is making healthcare history again. The small European country led the way on banning smoking in public places in 2004 and now it’s becoming the country with the strictest health labelling on drinks.

"From 2026, Irish drinkers will have to look at labels on their favorite bottle of booze informing them of the possible risks of developing liver disease and fatal cancers. While the warnings will not be as graphic as those on cigarette packs, which often include pictures of diseased body parts, they will emphasize potential deadly risks of drinking."

Here's the statement from the Irish Ministry of Health:

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has signed into law the Public Health (Alcohol) (Labelling) Regulations 2023 and the remaining provisions of Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act.

Section 12 and the Labelling Regulations together introduce comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products sold in Ireland and provide that similar health information will be available for customers in licensed premises.

The law provides that the labels of alcohol products will state the calorie content and grams of alcohol in the product. They will warn about the risk of consuming alcohol when pregnant and will also warn of the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol consumption. The labels will direct the consumer to the HSE website,, for further information.

There is a three-year lead-in time built into the law in order to give businesses significant time to prepare for the change. The law will apply from 22 May 2026.

The Bloomberg story notes that "the plan has stirred up heavy opposition from a multitude of alcohol-producing countries, with the US, Mexico and the Dominican Republic arguing that the warnings are trade obstacles."

In addition, there remains some debate about the impact of alcohol.  Bloomberg writes, "Only about 3.5% of cancer deaths in the US are alcohol-related, according to the US National Cancer Institute. Researchers tend to agree the effect of alcohol is much smaller than tobacco … For the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderation  means two drinks or less a day for men and one for women. Yet, the WHO says that half of alcohol-attributed cancers in Europe are caused by light or moderate drinking, warning that the risk starts from the first drop of alcohol."

KC's View:

Putting aside the health impact debate, I've always believed that beer, wine and spirits ought to be subject to the same labeling regulations as every other food and beverage product that people buy and consume.