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EU: Liberalisers win vodka definition vote

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Large drinks companies such as Diageo will be able to continue making vodka from non-traditional ingredients such as grapes, without having to label their products vodka-style drinks, following a European Parliament vote today (19 June).

Furthermore, proposals from the parliament's environment committee that ingredients other than grain, potatoes or sugar beet molasses be listed on large labels, with lettering two-thirds as large as the word 'Vodka', were voted down.

Under the winning formula for a proposed EU spirits labelling regulation, non-traditional ingredients must be noted on labels, but the size is not fixed.

MEPs from traditional vodka-producing member states such as Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden pushed for a ban on marketing 'vodka' made from non-traditional agreements, but this was also rejected.

The winning compromise had been negotiated with the EU Council of Ministers, and should now be rubber-stamped at a meeting of the Council next week.

Diageo welcomed the ruling, saying that the vote "reconfirms the position taken by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers that vodka can be made from any agricultural raw material".

Alan Butler, Diageo's corporate relations director for EU institutions, said: "We await the outcome of the World Trade Organisation notification and the subsequent adoption of Parliament's Opinion by the Council of Ministers but remain confident that the vodka definition will remain unchanged."


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Diageo

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