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Document 52013XC0612(02)

Publication of an application pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

OJ C 166, 12.6.2013, p. 8–12 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

12.6.2013   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 166/8


Publication of an application pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

2013/C 166/05

This publication confers the right to oppose the application pursuant to Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1).

SINGLE DOCUMENT

COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 510/2006

on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs  (2)

STAKLIŠKĖS

EC No: LT-PGI-0005-0819-27.07.2010

PGI ( X ) PDO ( )

1.   Name

‘Stakliškės’

2.   Member State or third country

Lithuania

3.   Description of the agricultural product or foodstuff

3.1.   Type of product

Class 1.8.

Other products of Annex I to the Treaty (spices, etc.)

3.2.   Description of product to which the name in point 1 applies

‘Stakliškės’ mead is a clear amber-coloured alcoholic beverage that is made in the traditional way by natural fermentation of mead must together with plant additives (hops, lime blossom, juniper berries). The composition of the honey and the herbs and spices gives the beverage its characteristic pronounced honey taste with a slightly sweet-sour flavour and a piquant aroma. All of the ethanol in the mead is obtained solely by natural fermentation. No sugar or other sweeteners, colourings, flavourings or preservatives are used in the production of the mead, and its strength is not corrected by adding ethanol.

Physico-chemical properties of ‘Stakliškės’ mead:

ethanol content — 12 ± 1 % by volume,

sugar content — 160 ± 8 g/dm3,

titratable acids expressed as citric acid — 7 ± 0,5 g/dm3,

total extract — 180 ± 8 g/dm3,

volatile acids expressed as acetic acid — not more than 1,5 g/dm3,

iron content must not exceed 10 mg/dm3,

total sulphur dioxide and sulphite content must not exceed 200 mg/dm3.

3.3.   Raw materials (for processed products only)

Raw materials:

water,

natural honey that complies with the following requirements:

reducing-sugar content (sum of fructose and glucose): not less than 60 g/100 g,

sucrose content: not more than 5 g/100 g,

water content: not more than 20 %,

diastase activity (Schade scale): not less than 8,

bottom-fermenting brewer’s yeast at a concentration of up to 5 % of the must,

herbs/spices (3,5 g/l):

hops,

lime blossom,

juniper berries.

‘Stakliškės’ mead must is prepared by mixing equal parts by weight of honey and water, i.e. one part honey to one part water.

3.4.   Feed (for products of animal origin only)

3.5.   Specific steps in production that must take place in the identified geographical area

I.

Dissolving the honey, decanting the liquid honey and removal of any scum and impurities.

II.

Decoction of hops and other herbs/spices; cooling, straining and dosing of the decoction.

III.

Pumping the liquid honey, the required amount of water and the decoction into a pasteurisation kettle. Pasteurisation of the mead must.

IV.

Pumping and cooling of the mead must.

V.

Fermentation of the mead must.

VI.

Clarification of the mead.

VII.

Maturing of the mead for at least nine months.

VIII.

Filtering and bottling of the mead.

3.6.   Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc.

‘Stakliškės’ mead must be bottled in glass, ceramic or other souvenir containers of various shapes and capacities immediately after maturing and filtration, as exposure to the air during transportation or interim storage would create a risk of oxidisation, which would adversely affect the specific organoleptic characteristics of this mead. Furthermore, exposure to the air would allow contamination by acetic acid bacteria or other microorganisms, leading to fermentation that would be detrimental to the product.

3.7.   Specific rules concerning labelling

4.   Concise definition of the geographical area

The geographical area is Stakliškės civil parish.

5.   Link with the geographical area

5.1.   Specificity of the geographical area

The ‘Stakliškės’ geographical indication consists of the name of the town in which the mead is made, which lies in a hollow surrounded by hills and forests. The location is favourable for beekeeping and for producing the other raw materials used to make mead, as 60 % of the area is agricultural land, while 23 % is forest and 17 % is covered by water or used for other purposes.

History

The name of the town of Stakliškės was first mentioned in 1375 in the chronicles of the Teutonic Order and derives from the word ‘Stokielyšek’. The story goes that some gentlemen got into an argument during a hunt about who could drink 100 glasses of mead. One gentleman drank them all and shouted ‘Stokielyšek’ (‘one hundred glasses’) in amazement, and that is how the place came to be called Stokielyček, or Stakliškės.

The earliest specific written information about the consumption of mead in the land of the Balts is to be found in the account of Wulfstan’s voyage and dates from approximately 890. This traveller and merchant visited the lands along the shores of the Baltic, gaining first-hand knowledge of their abundance of honey, and that honey was used to make a drink. Kings and noblemen drank mare’s milk, while poor people and slaves drank mead. The Aistians brewed no ale, because there was mead aplenty. At the beginning of the 14th century, Peter of Dusburg, chronicler of the Teutonic Order, wrote that the ancestors of the Lithuanians drank plain water, honey wine — known as mead — and mare’s milk, but they never drank that unconsecrated.

Mead became a kind of legend, and attempts were made to revive it back at the beginning of the 20th century, but it was only after the Second World War that the process engineer Aleksandras Sinkevičius, of Stakliškės meadery, set out to recreate the recipe for a mead which had, in the past (from the 15th to the 18th century), been made from wild honey and various herbs and spices, and to revive the production of a traditional, natural, non-spirit mead that was, at that time, no longer produced either in Lithuania or in neighbouring countries.

In the social system of the time, Aleksandras Sinkevičius had a difficult road to travel before managing to obtain a licence to produce mead in 1957. On 8 September 1958, the first 700 litres of mead must were boiled up in the old boiling room of the Stakliškės brewery. From then on, ‘Stakliškės’ mead started to be produced industrially. However, as Aivaras Ragauskas wrote in his book Aleksandras Sinkevičius (1908–1989). Trečdalis gyvenimo paskirto lietuviškam midui (Aleksandras Sinkevičius (1908–1989). A third of a life dedicated to Lithuanian mead) (Vilnius, 2008), ‘It was difficult to implement the plans. For example, in 1964, the production plan was only 91 % implemented. As there was no relevant production base and no laboratory, it was not easy to ensure that the quality of the mead was consistent, especially when many people did not know any better.’ Consequently, mead production made large losses in 1963. It was only on 12 January 1967, after a long process of adjusting the recipe, the ratio of the herbs and spices and the production process, that Aleksandras Sinkevičius wrote the following to the public prosecutor, Viktoras Galinaitis, and other civil servants in letter No 24 LTSR (Stakliškės mead production archive): ‘In extremely primitive conditions, I have made products that cannot be made by mechanised plants, and that is why they are high-quality.’

On 18 January 1967, the first technical manual for production of this mead was drawn up, describing the raw materials and the entire mead production process, and in 1968 the specifications with which today’s ‘Stakliškės’ mead still complies were drawn up.

The reputation of ‘Stakliškės’ mead is confirmed by the steadily increasing demand for it, with 60 000 litres of ‘Stakliškės’ mead produced in 1977 and 80 000 litres in 1978. Back in 1989, the first batches of this mead were exported to the United Kingdom and the United States, and it is now exported to Poland, Belgium, Latvia, China, Israel and other countries.

To this day, the traditional method of producing ‘Stakliškės’ mead and the professional skills of the producers in this geographical area, which are passed down from generation to generation, guarantee the authenticity of this long-maturing beverage with a subtle flavour and aroma. This is demonstrated by the fact that the Lithuanian Culinary Heritage Fund granted ‘Stakliškės’ mead culinary heritage status in 2002, confirming that it is made from traditional ingredients using traditional techniques, and the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture awarded it a national heritage product certificate in 2010, confirming that ‘Stakliškės’ mead is a traditional product embodying the age-old, authentic, traditional product characteristics, composition and production method.

5.2.   Specificity of the product

‘Stakliškės’ mead gets its characteristic pronounced honey taste, with a slightly sweet-sour flavour and a piquant aroma, from its balanced sugar/acid ratio and traditional production method, i.e. the long natural fermentation (up to 90 days) and long maturation (at least nine months) and the traditional recipe, according to which the mead is made using only natural honey and herbs and spices (hops, lime blossom and juniper berries). ‘Stakliškės’ mead differs from the types of mead made in the surrounding lands by virtue of the fact that the ethanol content is obtained entirely by natural fermentation and is not corrected by adding ethanol, and the honey cannot be replaced with sugar, corresponding sweeteners or honey distillate.

The specificity and reputation of the product are borne out by a survey carried out in 2007 by the market analysis and research group UAB RAIT, which showed that ‘Stakliškės’ mead differs from other beverages of the same type by virtue of its high quality (acknowledged by 70 % of respondents), nice taste (acknowledged by 59 % of respondents) and very pleasant aroma (acknowledged by 51 % of respondents). Other qualities frequently attributed to this beverage were: a strong flavour (mentioned by 39 % of respondents), attractive packaging (mentioned by 36 % of respondents), intended for older people (mentioned by 36 % of respondents) and expensive drink (mentioned by 40 % of respondents).

5.3.   Causal link between the geographical area and the quality or characteristics of the product (for PDO) or a specific quality, the reputation or other characteristic of the product (for PGI)

The protected geographical indication for ‘Stakliškės’ mead is based on the history of the product possessing the characteristics set out under point 5.2, people’s traditional ability to preserve the specific features of its production and its reputation.

‘Stakliškės’ mead gained its reputation because it is a traditional product. The book Lietuviškas midus (Lithuanian mead) (Kaunas, 1969), which was published back in 1969, described ‘Stakliškės’ mead as ‘a kind of distinctive national beverage that was made in the distant past. It is a low-strength, slightly sour but very fragrant and delicate vitamin-rich beverage named after the town in which Lithuanian mead production is centred. The beverage is a clear amber colour. When poured out into a glass, it is as though it has the fragrant scents of a flowering meadow.’

The reputation of ‘Stakliškės’ mead is illustrated by the gold medal it won at the international AgroBalt’98 exhibition and the diploma it was awarded at Degustalit, a tasting of Lithuanian food products and beverages organised by the Lithuanian Agricultural and Food Products Market Regulation Agency in 2004, recognising this mead as the best-tasting beverage.

The appreciation and popularity of ‘Stakliškės’ mead is confirmed by articles that regularly appear in the regional and national press, as well as in information publications and on the Internet: ‘Stakliškių midus’ (Stakliškės mead) (Mūsų sodai, 1964, No 5); ‘Kur Stakliškių auksas ir sidabras’ (Where is Stakliškės' gold and silver?) (Švyturys, 1968, No 24); ‘Stakliškių midus’ (Stakliškės mead) (Laisvė, 25 November 1983); ‘Metai, kaip lietuviškas midus’ (A year like Lithuanian mead) (Kooperatininkas, 1988, No 9); ‘Stakliškės’ (Šiaurės Atėnai, 2003, No 646); ‘AgroBalt: pirmoji lietuviškų maisto produktų ir gėrimų degustacija’ (AgroBalt: first tasting of Lithuanian food products and beverages) (Elta, 9 June 2004); ‘ „Ida Basar“ Europos Parlamente išlaikė pirmąjį lietuviškų vaišių egzaminą’ (‘Ida Basar’ passes first test for Lithuanian delicacies at the European Parliament) (meniu.lt, 11 October 2004); ‘ „Lietuviškas midus“ degtinės gaminti nesirengia’ (Lietuviškas midus is not about to produce vodka) (BNS, 14 April 2006).

Lithuanians associate the name of the town of Stakliškės only with this beverage. ‘Stakliškės’ mead played its part in preserving the Lithuanian identity during Soviet times, and today is a perfect ‘ambassador’ for Lithuania abroad. It represents Lithuania — when choosing a souvenir or present from Lithuania, this beverage is always chosen, along with amber or šakotis (a traditional Lithuanian cake). Since 2011, UAB Lietuviškas midus has been conducting guided tours, during which visitors learn about the age-old method of making mead and have the opportunity to taste and evaluate this and various other beverages. The visitors like ‘Stakliškės’ mead best, because of its flavour and its name, which they associate with the place they have visited. In 2011, there were 1 040 visitors, and in 2012, the number will already reach approximately 1 800, which also confirms the reputation of ‘Stakliškės’ mead.

Reference to publication of the specification

(Article 5(7) of Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 (3))

http://www.zum.lt/l.php?tmpl_into=middle&tmpl_id=2702


(1)  OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 1.

(2)  OJ L 93, 31.3.2006, p. 12. Replaced by Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012.

(3)  See footnote 2.


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