EU regulations go in favour of British-distilled vodkas

29 June, 2007

British vodka has been saved from an attempt to rename it a "white spirit" or "pure alcohol".

A vote in the European Parliament saw MEPs from traditional vodka-producing countries

such as Finland, Poland and Sweden, wh ere vodka is made from grain and potatoes, trying to ban the use of the name "vodka" for drink made from any other ingredients.

The decision has been applauded by UK distillers

who commonly make vodka from grapes or imported sugar cane. Rick Connor, Pernod Ricard's vice president for international public affairs, said: "This brings to a close a very long discussion period on these changes. With its extensive brand portfolio of premium distilled spirits, Pernod Ricard believes that these new rules will bring greater clarity to the distilled spirits sector."

Alan Butler, corporate relations director for EU

institutions, said Diageo welcomed the open definition of vodka.

Gin & Vodka Association director general Edwin Atkinson hailed the ruling as a good result for the industry, but expressed concern that having to list all of the ingredients would mean added costs.

New rules to protect the Scotch

whisky industry against cheap imitations were also given the go-ahead by the European Parliament. The move to introduce a clearer legal definition of whisky will assist distillers in tackling unfair and misleading practices overseas, according to Nick Soper, the Scotch Whisky Association's European affairs director.

What do the new



regulations say?

Vodkas made from any agricultural raw material can be called vodka

Unless vodkas are made from potato or grain, ingredients must be printed on the bottle

The term "London gin" will be recognised under the changes. The name will refer solely to gin distilled with natural botanicals to differentiate it from artificially-flavoured gin

Regional product labelling, such as Scottish Whisky, will be protected

Whisky cannot be flavoured or sweetened

and it cannot contain any additives other than plain caramel colouring.

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