Agreement reached on the new spirit drinks regulation: a glass half full
Brussels, 28 November 2018 – EU spirits producers welcome the political agreement reached last night at the trilogue on a new Spirit Drinks Regulation, which sets rules for the production and labelling of spirit drinks and for the registration and protection of the more than 240 spirits with Geographical Indications (GIs).
“After so many years of discussions, it is a great relief to see the conclusion of the new Regulation, as it lays down the rules for the production and labelling of all spirits sold in the EU and for the protection of those EU spirits bearing a Geographical Indication”, said Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE. “The law is a central piece of legislation for the spirits sector, as it creates an effective, harmonised framework which protects consumers and producers alike.”
The new law contains a number of positive and innovative elements such as new rules on the facility to translate GI terms, on the use of sweetening substances and on origin of ingredients are very welcome, as it is the mechanism that will allow fake GI spirits in transit in the EU to be seized. In addition, certain definitions such as, for instance, those for vodka or London Gin have been refined and improved.
Against that, however, Council insisted that the new law should no longer allow the definitions of individual spirits to be updated, whether to respond to innovation or to address practical problems. This is a step backwards and is likely to create difficulties in the future. Also, some of the new rules look complex and, as they have yet to be tested in the market, it is not entirely clear how exactly they should be applied.
“I would like to thank and congratulate the negotiators for the work they have undertaken on this comprehensive technical regulation. The new legislative framework will support a sector that is among the EU’s largest and most valuable agri-food exporters and is driving the global reputation of Europe for high-quality products”, Adam concluded.