Barcodes for Beer & Alcohol

Since both beer and alcohol products are commonly sold at retail point-of-sale, each individual sales item will require its own distinct GTIN (UPC/EAN) barcode. One of the unique identification aspects of beer products is that each type of beer may be sold as a single can, a bundle of 4-6, and cases (12, 24, etc.). Consequently, many companies are challenged to understanding the requirements for barcoding beer and alcohol products.

Our GS1 Consultants Are Here to Help

Every beer manufacturer is challenged with correctly navigating how their products need to be marked. Not only does the individual can's UPC need to differ from that of the UPC of the case, but also the individual can UPC cannot show through when in the case form. A POS scanner needs to only see the UPC for the exact product being present at checkout.

In addition, if a beer manufacturer provides products in both bottles and cans, each format will require its own unique GTIN (UPC) barcode.

Factoring Different Types of Packaging

The packaging material for cases can vary, so it is important to work with your GS1 consultant on the correct type of barcode and barcode format.

Certain corrugate material, as shown in the image to the left, requires a UPC barcode to include a rectangular box (bearer bars). Our consultants understand the requirements for each type of printing process and format.

Barcodes for Alcohol Products

Each alcoholic spirit will require its own unique GTIN (UPC) barcode.

It is now very common for liquor products to be sold in a wide variety of packaging types. Since product branding is so important in this industry, it is necessary to identify each different size, flavor, and packaging type with a unique GTIN (UPC) barcode.

Retailers need to be able to manage their inventory to account for the variety of available products. Our GS1 Consultants typically instruct their clients to uniquely identify each product just as they would want their retail customers to reorder packages from them. Promotional bottles would also require their own UPC barcode to differentiate from other packaging options.

State Mandated Barcode Marking

The sale and consumption of alcohol are governed by the laws of each state in the United States. Participating in the alcohol industry can therefore be extremely challenging and manufacturers need to investigate requirements by state.

There are two common types of liquor regulatory systems in the United States: open states and control states. If you want to get into the business of selling alcoholic beverages, you’ll need to understand the rules governing the sale of alcohol in the state where you want to operate. Knowing whether you operate in a controlled or open state is the first place to start.

In open states, private businesses are allowed to buy and sell alcohol according to state laws, while other states control the distribution and/or sale of alcohol (wine, spirits, and beer). These are known as control states.

Pennsylvania is a controlled state and has explicit barcode labeling requirements for case identification. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) requires the following information on all cases of products they receive:

  • The PLCB/State Code item number
  • UPC
  • A brief description of the product (including name, size, and vintage or proof)
  • Shipping Container Code (SCC) and barcode
  • Consumer-readable freshness date on the case, if the freshness date is printed on the retail unit

GTINs - Barcodes -® - Personal Support

We Provide More Than Just Barcodes!

Access to® enables members to completely manage their GTIN assignments, create high-resolution barcodes, and control their associated product data.

More importantly, an assigned personal GS1 Barcode consultant will not only assist with any and all questions but will validate information BEFORE publishing.