The government department said that cider and own-label had “made substantial progress”.
Brewers including Heineken and Molson Coors were also singled out for praise.
But the DoH said that only 15% of all alcohol labels met all five key requirements laid out in the 2007 voluntary code: unit information; pregnancy advice; a sensible drinking message; the Drinkaware details and NHS recommended limits.
The result was a significant improvement on 2008 when compliance stood at 6%.
Labels “in the pipeline” would take compliance up to 19% by 2010, said the DoH, and it has a published a consultation on the future way forward for labelling.
A review of the existing agreement and a mandatory code are two options under consideration.
Public health minister Gillian Merron said: “Despite responsible efforts from brand such as Bulmers, Foster’s and Kronenbourg, and the major supermarkets, overall progress on labelling is very disappointing.
“While there should be no need to bring in legislation when the industry can clearly sort it out, we will not hesitate to act decisively if industry does not deliver.”