spiritsNEWS March 2021

Coming soon: new EU Spirits Drinks Regulations to enter into force

Most of the production and labelling provisions of the new Spirit Drinks Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2019/787) will become applicable next month, on 25 May 2021. After the new central piece of EU legislation for our sector was published on 17 May 2019, the work on aspects related to the new rules governing spirit drinks in the EU commenced and is, indeed, continuing.

For instance, the European Commission, in cooperation with Member States Experts, continues to finetune the draft guidelines on the implementation of certain labelling provisions of the Spirit Drinks Regulation. The guidelines aim to clarify - amongst others - the rather complex provisions regulating allusions, compound terms, mixtures and blends, making them easier to understand and apply for producers of spirit drinks and easier to enforce by Member States competent authorities. The draft is however not expected to be finalised before the closure of the ongoing discussions on the amendment of specific, technical provisions relating to the labelling of spirit drinks, such as allusions and compound terms. Public consultation on two of those proposed amendments concerning labelling rules for the use of allusions and compound terms are ongoing and input can be provided until 23 April 2021. spiritsEUROPE is developing a position with the membership as appropriate, advocating for regulation that is meaningful and delivers on its objectives, without posing doubtful additional burdens on producers– e.g. in the form of label changes that have no clear benefit for the consumer!

Most likely, the draft labelling guidelines will not be formalised before the related provisions of the new Spirit Drinks Regulation become applicable on 25 May 2021, but thanks to the full speed work by DG AGRI and the Member States Delegates, we are hopeful that the delay will not be too long.

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