Blog: When is a vodka not a vodka?
Olly Wehring | 30 October 2006
The EU made its presence felt on several fronts last week, proving its usual source of controversy. While many in the drinks industry bemoan the part played by the authorities at times, on the issue of the definition of vodka , it is clear that the EU is simply holding up a mirror to the producers.
Last week, agriculture ministers from member states across the EU could not agree on what should and should not constitute vodka. While countries such as Poland, Finland and Sweden want vodka protected as a traditional spirit made only from grain or potatoes, there are others out there who feel that anything can be used to make vodka, so long as it tastes like, you’ve guessed it, vodka.
The argument is about heritage - traditional vodka-producing countries have a strong affinity for the product and believe they are the home of the spirit. As the planet becomes a smaller place, they argue, where you come from is an anchor in an ever-changing world.
The problem is, however, that the taste of vodka is pretty easy to recreate; the vast majority of consumers would not be able to tell the difference between vodkas made from a variety of raw ingredients. Indeed, at the meeting, the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel, offered to set up a blind tasting for Council members.
Where this will end is tough to guess - probably with a compromise. But trading on what something is made of, or even where it came from, is proving harder and harder in the 21st century.
Here's a round-up of the top stories on just-drinks last week, featuring Pernod Ricard, soft drinks NPD, the Champagne category and international beer brands....
Heavy metal legend Bruce Dickinson - lead singer of the band Iron Maiden, for the unitiated - is clearly a man not afraid to get his hands dirty. ...
The homebrewing revival continues in the UK - and evidence has come that even the supermarket chains are taking it semi-seriously. ...
Does Pernod Ricard have something to hide? In a press conference after the release of full-year results today, only a quarter of the 100 minutes were given over to questions from journalists....
- Allegro: The shape of things to come at Pernod?
- Pernod Ricard's Allegro cost-saving programme
- Comment - Diageo's Distill Ventures: One Year On
- The End of the Road for International Beer Brands?
- Pernod Ricard's FY Performance by Region, Brand
- Pernod Ricard set for CMO switch
- ASA bans Jägermeister TV ad
- Wine Australia reports death of UK, Europe boss
- Pernod bemoans tough FY as sales, profits drop
- Diageo takes Haig Club to Singapore airport