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New App Tells You What You’re Actually Drinking

Lab tests reveal the nutritional information—and more—about the beer and wine that we drink.

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If you’ve ever turned a bottle of your favorite Merlot over to find out just what you’re drinking, you probably found yourself playing a whole new version of spin the bottle: turning it round and round without finding any nutritional information. That’s because unlike most foods and drinks we consume, beer, wine, and liquor aren’t regulated by the FDA, so manufacturers aren’t required to put nutritional information on the label. A new Denver-based company, though, is making it easier to learn more about the boozy liquids you put in your body.

In 2012, Colorado natives Kevin Hicks and Kevin Byrne launched BeverageGrades, a website that provides the downlow on more than 5,000 alcoholic products, from New Belgium’s Fat Tire to Rex Goliath Cabernet. This month, the pair launched the BeverageGrades app, which delivers information about everything from calories to alcohol content to carbs to your phone. Investigating what’s inside those bottles requires fives scientists, a research analyst, and six different machines, all working inside a 4,000-plus-square-foot lab in north Denver. The team also tests for things that shouldn’t be there, such as lead and arsenic. (Don’t worry: Reports on that front aren’t alarming.) Byrne says they add about 300 new drinks a week and plan to incorporate spirits into their roster within the next few weeks. (They’ve been testing them for months).

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BeverageGrades new app is brand available for Android or Apple, so now you can search for healthier ways to imbibe while at the liquor or grocery store, too. But use it at your own risk. According to Byrne, some craft beers contain up to 300 or 400 calories in a 12-ounce glass.

Follow digital associate editor Jerilyn Forsythe on Twitter at @jlforsyt.

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