Supply Chain Characteristics that Impact Traceability

Traceability Takeaways

  • Limited documentation is available on risks related to the direct production of alcoholic beverages –which includes the brewing, fermentation, distillation, and bottling process. Where risk has been documented in those production modes, it appears to be largely concentrated amongst small producers not participating in global supply chains. That said, significant risks have been documented in a number of raw material inputs to alcoholic beverages including the production of grapes and sugarcane, as well as in the supply chains of glass and plastic bottles. Therefore, downstream companies with alcoholic beverage supply chains should conduct comprehensive supply chain mapping and discovery to target further due diligence efforts.
  • Traceability is already used in alcohol supply chains to support origin and quality claims and to protect against fraud.1Beverage Industry, Laetus, High quality, permanent coding: ensuring traceability for the spirits industry, edding, Any data already collected by downstream companies for these purposes could be leveraged for preliminary risk screening and to prioritize any potential supply chain areas that might benefit from heightened due diligence.

Nature of Labor Rights Risk/Vulnerable Workers

Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by U.S. Government

Child Labor cited by U.S. Government

Documented presence of other vulnerable workers

Risk of Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by other source

Risk of Child Labor cited by other source

Documented presence of migrant workers

Documented presence or significant likelihood of third-party labor recruiters

Features of Production and Supply Chain

Multiple points of aggregation, co-mingling, and/or transformation across supply chain

Complex/opaque supply chains and/or lack of vertical integration

High degree of flexibility in procurement practices of downstream entities

Large numbers of dispersed, unorganized, or informal small producers or other worksites

Distribution of Labor Risk in Various Production Areas

Scale or nature of risk is present across multiple tiers or nodes of supply chain (including in associated downstream or upstream goods)

Scale or nature of risk varies significantly based on geographic area of production

Scale or nature of risk is strongly associated with certain types of suppliers/entities

Linked Upstream and Downstream Risks

Risk in Nodes in Alcoholic Beverage Production

Different alcoholic beverages are produced with different agricultural commodities––wine with grapes, beer with hops and barley, and spirits with corn, wheat, rye, or rice. In general, alcohol producers procure the inputs for their beverages. Producers perform a variety of processes such as fermenting, mashing, mixing, lautering, hopping, ageing, and distilling, amongst others. Once the appropriate beverage has been produced, it is canned, bottled, or otherwise packaged. Alcoholic beverages are then sold directly to retailers or to wholesalers, who sell the products to retailers.17Distillation process, Spirits Europe,,alcohol%20is%20separated%20and%20removed; Beer 101: The Fundamental Steps of Brewing, The Beer Connoisseur,; Anderson, C.J., Zarra, Y. & Kirby, J. “The Manufacturing Process.” Wine Commodity Chain Project, 2015,




Wholesale and retail

Associated Upstream Goods with Labor Risk

The cultivation and harvest of many ingredients for alcoholic beverage production have labor risk, including grapes, potatoes, wheat, cereals grains, cherries, plums, other pome and stone fruits, molasses from sugar (beets), and sugarcane.

Glass is used to package some alcoholic beverages. Glass production has been associated with labor risks as has waste-picking for recycled materials for bottle production, including glass.

Top Global Countries

  1. France18List of exporters for the selected product in 2021. Product: 22 Beverages, spirits and vinegar.
  2. Italy
  3. Mexico
  4. United Kingdom
  5. United States of America
  6. Netherlands
  7. Germany
  8. Spain
  9. Belgium
  10. Austria

Examples & Resources: Traceability Efforts Associated With Alcoholic Beverages