What is a spirit (110/2008)

Spirit drinks are all defined in EU legislation.  The current rules are set out in Regulation 110/2008.   This legislation defines each of the individual categories of spirit: brandy, rum, gin etc., setting out, variously, their raw materials and production requirements.  This can include maximum distillation strength, maturation requirements, minimum alcoholic strength for consumer sale and the minimum sugar levels for liqueurs.  The legislation also lists every spirit with a geographical indication that have been registered in the EU.  

In all cases the raw materials for the production of spirits must come from an agricultural source.  In addition, so as to protect the quality and reputation of EU spirits on the world market, spirits exported from the EU must also comply with EU rules.

A revised Regulation was adopted by the Commission in December 2016 and is now at the European Parliament for the first reading. Click here to see the initial views of the sector.