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EU agrees new rules for spirit drinks

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EU agrees new rules for spirit drinks


(BRUSSELS) -EU institutions reached a political agreement Tuesday on new rules for the production and labelling of spirit drinks and for the registration and protection of spirit drinks registered as geographical indications.

The agreement between negotiators of the EU Council and the European Parliament means that a clearer labelling of spirit drinks will be guaranteed across the EU and that their composition will be harmonised at EU level.

The creation of a register of Member States' control authorities will also facilitate the work of the national enforcement forces to make sure that consumers get the genuine products.

Terms of spirit drinks registered as GIs such as Cognac, Irish Cream, Genever or Ouzo will also be better protected against misuse as ingredients and against the registration of similar trademarks.

Main features of the new regulation

  • the clarification of the production and labelling rules for most categories of spirit drinks, including the definition of maximum sweetening limits for a number of categories at EU level,
  • the improvement of the labelling rules that apply in case spirit drinks are combined with other products, including other spirit drinks;
  • the creation of a register of the Member States' control authorities;
  • the enhanced protection of GIs: when used as ingredients, when in conflict with Trade Marks and also against goods in transit in the EU territory;
  • the further simplification of the GIs procedures: Commission scrutiny to focus only on elements of EU significance, clearer definitions of amendments at national and EU level, fully respecting subsidiarity principle, reduction of the time period for treating applications.

The agreement was welcomed by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan: "I am confident that the new Spirit Drink Regulation, resulting from today's negotiations, will provide for a legislative framework that meets the needs of the sector and will continue to support its continuing and substantial growth. The modernised rules will also ensure that consumers are accurately informed on the methods used to produce spirit drinks."

The spirit sector is among the biggest contributors to the agri-food economy in Europe with over one million jobs generated by the production and sales of spirit drinks and €11 billion worth of exports in 2017 all across the globe.

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