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Japan's shochu companies get EU green light for bottle size amendment

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The European Parliament has backed a European Commission proposal to exempt Japan from European Union (EU) bottle size rules when selling the spirit shochu.

A free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan will come into effect next year

A free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan will come into effect next year

The special shochu ruling, announced late last month, has been introduced because the Japan-EU free trade agreement (JEFTA) committed Japanese drinks exporters to conform to EU legislation on nominal quantities of prepacked products (directive 2007/45/EC). Domestic sales of shochu, however, are in traditional Japanese sizes, prompting the Japanese Government to request a special exemption for these exports.

The EU has agreed, with the European Parliament approving the sale of shochu in 72cl and 180cl bottles, neither of which were permitted under the original directive.

The JETA is scheduled to come into effect in November next year

According to statistics portal Statista, Iichiko, owned by Sanwara Shurui, is the world's leading shochu brand, selling around 7.5m 9-litre cases last year. Kanoka (3.3m) and Muginoka (1.6m) were in second and third place.

Click here for the official amendment to the EU directive.


Sectors: Legislation, Spirits

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