A legal ruling in Switzerland against Absinthe producers in the country has been welcomed by the owner of the French La Fée Absinthe brand.

Earlier this week, the federal administrative court in Switzerland overturned a regional court ruling that had previously granted protected geographical indication (IGP) status for the terms 'absinthe' and 'Fee verte' to absinthe producers in the Val-de-Travers district of the country. The proposal could still be taken to Switzerland's supreme court, although the weight of opposition now makes this seem unlikely.

“This is a great step forward for the absinthe category and a healthy dose of common sense coming out of the Swiss courts following heavy objections,” said George Rowley, who owns La Fée. “It's been hanging over us for the past three-and-a-half years, so this is excellent news.

“We needed to present a strong objection against geographic protection sought by a few in Switzerland.”

The initial ruling in favour of Val-de-Travers' absinthe producers was handed down in 2010, prior to the lifting of an outright ban on absinthe in France in 2011. Among the companies that subsequently opposed the Swiss decision were La Fée and Pernod Ricard, the latter being the market leader with its namesake Absinthe brand.

Two years ago, the European Commission dismissed proposals to legally define the term 'absinthe' based on minimum levels of anethole and thujone.