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Document 32019R0787

Geographical origin of spirit drinks

Geographical origin of spirit drinks

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) 2019/787 on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, the use of the names of spirit drinks in the presentation and labelling of other foodstuffs, the protection of geographical indications for spirit drinks, the use of ethyl alcohol and distillates of agricultural origin in alcoholic beverages

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

  • It aims to provide rules on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks*, including their use in other foods, and on the protection of geographical indications* (GIs) for spirit drinks.
  • It includes clearer labelling rules for spirit drinks such as whisky, brandy, wine spirit and vodka and also for combinations of such spirit drinks with other foods. These rules are applicable across the EU and are in line with the rules on providing food information to consumers.
  • It also aims to ensure further harmonisation of the methods for the production of spirit drinks allowed throughout the EU, for instance concerning the maximum sugar content of a number of spirit drinks.
  • It aims to further simplify GI procedures:
    • European Commission to focus only on elements of EU significance,
    • clearer definitions of amendments at national and EU level, fully respecting the subsidiarity principle,
    • reduction of the time period for treating applications.
  • It aims to enhance the protection of GIs:
    • when products are used as ingredients,
    • when in conflict with trade marks, and
    • against goods in transit in the EU’s territory.
  • It repeals Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 with effect from 25 May 2021, except for Chapter III (geographical indications) which has been repealed with effect from 8 June 2019 (see summary Geographical origin of spirit drinks).

KEY POINTS

Scope

The regulation covers the definition of spirit drinks and the categories of spirit drinks allowed in the EU. It outlines detailed rules on their production, description, presentation and labelling, as well as the use of the names of spirit drinks in the presentation and labelling of other foodstuffs.

Spirit drinks is one of the 4 sectors covered by the rules on geographical indications. The other sectors are food, wine and aromatised wines.

Ethyl alcohol

The alcohol used in the production of spirit drinks and other alcoholic beverages, and to dilute or dissolve colours, flavourings or any other authorised ingredients, should be exclusively ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, distillates of agricultural origin or spirit drinks of categories 1 to 14 of Annex I to the regulation. The definition of ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, including the maximum levels of residues, is outlined in the regulation.

Protection of geographical indications

Geographical indications which conform with the product specifications are protected against:

  • any direct or indirect commercial use of a registered name of products (not covered by the registration) where those products are comparable or where using the name exploits the reputation of the protected name, including products used as an ingredient;
  • any misuse, imitation or evocation, even if the true origin of the products or services is indicated or if the protected name is translated or accompanied by an expression such as ‘style’, ‘type’, ‘method’, ‘as produced in’, ‘imitation’, ‘flavour’, ‘like’ or similar, including when products are used as an ingredient;
  • any other false or misleading indication of the origin, nature or essential qualities of the product to convey a false impression of the product’s origin;
  • any other practice which could mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product.

Product specification

Product specifications include at least:

  • name to be protected as a geographical indication, as used in the original script, together with Latin equivalent (if relevant);
  • category of the spirit drink;
  • characteristics, including the raw materials used and the principal characteristics of the product and comparison with spirit drinks of the same category;
  • definition of the geographical area;
  • production methods, particularly any authentic and unvarying local production methods;
  • link between quality, reputation or other characteristic of the spirit drink and its geographical origin;
  • any specific labelling or packaging requirement.

Registration

  • Applications to register a geographical indication can only be submitted by groups who work with the spirit drink concerned.
  • An EU country can provisionally grant protection to a name at national level, with effect from the date on which an application is submitted to the Commission.
  • Within 3 months from the publication in the EU’s Official Journal, countries within and outside the EU, and non-EU residents with a legitimate interest, may submit a notice of opposition to the Commission.
  • The Commission keeps a publicly accessible electronic register of recognised geographical indications, to be created by means of delegated acts.
  • EU countries carry out checks on the use of registered geographical indications and spirit drinks in general, and must take necessary measures in the event of breaches of the rules.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It has applied since 8 June 2019 as regards the rules relating to geographical indications. It applies as of 25 May 2021 as regards the other rules on the production, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks.

BACKGROUND

See also:

KEY TERMS

Spirit drink: an alcoholic beverage intended for human consumption which possesses particular properties of taste and aroma, and has a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 15% (14% for advocaat (egg liqueur))
Geographical indication: a denomination identifying a product as originating in a country, region or locality where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially due to its geographical origin. Natural, human and process factors contribute to these distinctive characteristics.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Regulation (EU) 2019/787 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, the use of the names of spirit drinks in the presentation and labelling of other foodstuffs, the protection of geographical indications for spirit drinks, the use of ethyl alcohol and distillates of agricultural origin in alcoholic beverages, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 (OJ L 130, 17.5.2019, pp. 1-54)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs (OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, pp. 1-29)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 have been incorporated in the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004 (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, pp. 18-63)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89 (OJ L 39, 13.2.2008, pp. 16-54)

See consolidated version.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 716/2013 of 25 July 2013 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks (OJ L 201, 26.7.2013, pp. 21-30)

See consolidated version.

last update 07.10.2019

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