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Full Version: Switzerland has now an IGP for "absinthe".
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > General Absinthe Discussion
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Marc
Absinthe, La Bleue and La Fée Verte car only be produced in the Val de travers from now.
Any other producer outside the region can't label is absinthe as such and sell it in Switzerland.

Cahier des Charges
absinthist
And frankly speaking, except few really good absinthes from Switzerland (CLB, DuVallon, Martin, Wanner, Bovet, Racine, etc), the majority of les bleues is as close to anisette ordinaire as possible…
Steve
So, Matter can't label their stuff as absinthe anymore? Kallnach is not in VdT.
absinthist
I have read the same on the French forum, Matter cannot label since he's from Kallnach, Wanner cannot since he's from Geneva. Can anyone elaborate more on the subject?
Aggelos
Well, the protection specifies that can be sold with the name "Absinthe", "La Bleue", or "Fée Verte" in Switzerland only a product transformed in Val de Travers, hence Boveresse, Couvet and around, and besides, respecting dutifully rigid specifications.

Any other similar product, event with same recipe, plants, etc, produced elsewhere in Switzerland and sold as "Absinthe", "La Bleue" or "Fée Verte" in Switzerland is henceforth considered counterfeit by Swiss law, and its produced is entitled to a 15 000CHF fine
Esseintes
The IGP is not yet rectified - it takes 3 months and we'll do our best to fight against this stupidity! We all know Absinthe was born in Couvet, but was also produced outside the VdT in Switzerland. Also some other requirements for an IGP are not given.
Stroller
Looks like someone had a good lobbyist.
Green Baron
It's a shame when an ostensibly noble goal to preserve local pride/authenticity gets twisted to serve commercial interests.

I wonder if it would be effective to write someone, or if communications from folks outside Switzerland wouldn't really be taken seriously.
Zman
QUOTE(Stroller @ Mar 31 2010, 08:41 AM) *

Looks like someone had a good lobbyist.


Yeah, I'll bet I know who.
Steve
I am guessing it's more than just the one person you're thinking of.

But I don't know.
Green Baron
Amendment to my earlier post- of course, any protected appellation is commercial in nature to begin with. But still, it's a twisting of the original purpose. Not that it hasn't happened before.
Steve
According to the document linked from Aggelos' excellent webzine, the petitioner was the Association interprofessionnelle de l’Absinthe in Môtiers. I assume that's a group of all the distillers in the VdT. Duvallon has also written about it on his blog.
Stroller
Click to view attachment
Green Baron
How disappointing. There's a couple in there I'd like to continue drinking, but I can't any longer if they do indeed support this IGP. As if a reasonable definition of absinthe of wasn't problematic enough to get into public/regulatory consciousness. I'd think some of these people would know better after actually being pioneers in the absinthe renaissance.

The birthplace of absinthe would appear to have just crapped in its own cradle.
OCvertDe
Hey, it worked for Champagne.

OH, no, wait, it didn't.
Never mind.
Green Baron
Champaign's a bit of a different case. The very name refers to an actual region- it makes a lot more sense when the name refers to a geographic origin.

I payed a visit to the good ol' Wikipedium-
QUOTE
Through international treaty, national law or quality-control/consumer protection related local regulations, most countries limit the use of the term to only those wines that come from the Champagne appellation. In Europe, this principle is enshrined in the European Union by Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Other countries, such as the United States, have recognized the exclusive nature of this name, yet maintain a legal structure that allows certain domestic producers of sparkling wine to continue to use the term "champagne" under limited circumstances.


Another example would be Roquefort cheese, the recipient of France's first Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in 1925 (Roquefort is also a geographical location).

Absinthe on the other hand refers to a plant, and a beverage that was historically produced outside of VdT for more than a hundred years. "La Bleue" I could see maaaaybe. To appropriate "absinthe", and the term "Fee Verte"*, is just plain fucking stupid and overreaching.

It would be like Ireland trying to do that with the term "whiskey". Oh how the world would laugh. The term "Irish whiskey" on the other hand is a different ball of wax.

*Wasn't that term was started in France in the first place? I dunno.
Esseintes
That's EXACTLY it! They want to register a plant name as a IGP. So basically they have to rename the Val de Travers to Val d'Absinthe. Than all this would make sense…
absinthist
Registering a plant that grows EVERYWHERE and in many a case is of better quality than in Switzerland (as a matter of fact, I have seen good wormwood only at Matter's, Bugnon's and Gaudentia's) is completely nuts.

Registering "la bleue" is ol korekt since the rest of world can make "la blanche", but two other names…
Marc
QUOTE(Esseintes @ Mar 31 2010, 03:34 PM) *

The IGP is not yet rectified - it takes 3 months and we'll do our best to fight against this stupidity! We all know Absinthe was born in Couvet, but was also produced outside the VdT in Switzerland. Also some other requirements for an IGP are not given.

That's correct. Thanks for the correction Markus.
OCvertDe
QUOTE(Green Baron @ Mar 31 2010, 10:10 PM) *

Champaign's a bit of a different case. The very name refers to an actual region- it makes a lot more sense when the name refers to a geographic origin.

It may very well make a lot more sense, but the bottom line is, is it impossible to duplicate outside that region? If the answer is no, then it's just bullshit snobbery by people who are afraid that their product isn't good enough to survive competition.
thegreenimp
QUOTE(Stroller @ Mar 31 2010, 04:05 PM) *



Interesting that their "A" logo resembles a major award™. winnie.gif
Stroller
Ha!
Green Baron
This isn't an elaborate April Fools joke is it? It's definitely ridiculous enough to be…
Steve
I have no ill will for any of the VdT producers because of this, and certainly would never boycott any of their products. They are all extremely nice and generous people. While I don't agree with the IGP, I can understand why they want a special designation for absinthe produced in the historic birthplace. At least it's not an AOC - Nico wears his Absinthe AOC t-shirt every year at Boveresse. And I actually like the definitions in the cahier des charges; too bad there is not a universal definition like this (without the geographic requirements of the IGP); it would eliminate some of the crap being labelled (in some way) as absinthe.

So, can producers in other parts of Switzerland label their products euphemistically as in "extraits aux plantes d'absinthe" etc.? It's hard to believe they would be completely prohibited from using the name of one of the ingredients in some way.

absinthist
No IGP-in that form it is, respectively, but AOC for each region and/or producer could solve some problems.
Zman
I can't believe that Oxy hasn't talked about this here yet.
This is NOT good news for absinthe as a whole.
http://wormwoodsociety.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=6064
I'm sending my Euros in.
G&C

The error returned was:
Sorry, the link that brought you to this page seems to be out of date or broken.

Donnie Darko
Yeah, aint' workin.
Steve
For some reason you have to log in to see the discussion. I know this is not possible for some. The link works fine if you log in to WWS.

I had no idea this could affect absinthe producers outside Switzerland, i.e. in the E.U and even the U.S.! Damn! This is bad, bad, bad…
Green Baron
QUOTE

May 23, 2010

Dear Absinthe Producer,

On March 31, 2010, the Swiss Interprofession filed for an IGP (Indication de Provenance Géographique) for the Val-de-Travers that specifically and independently protects not only the words the words "La Bleue", but also "Absinthe"and "Fée Verte".

Switzerland and the European Union are bound by several treaties, including the Agreement on Exchange of Agricultural Products dated April 30, 2002, and in particular, Appendix 8 relating to Wines and Spirits. As a result, E.U. producers will soon no longer be able to use the word "absinthe" as a product description. It's likely that this restriction would be extended to US producers (and in practice distributors) as well.

We strongly feel this action is inappropriate, as the word "absinthe" itself refers to a plant, and a type of liquor historically derived from it. The term "absinthe" does not refer to a specific region of Switzerland, nor does it imply that absinthe cannot be produced outside of the Val-de-Travers, as history proves that absinthe (including absinthe of the highest quality) was and is produced in other countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, the USA and others. From the Belle Epoque through the present day, the Val de Travers has in fact accounted for only a tiny fraction of worldwide absinthe production, and in the modern era only an infinitesimally small fraction of green absinthe production.

Our legal counsel has indicated this IGP will be approved unless swift action is taken to oppose it within 90 days of the filing date, which is less than 30 days from the time this letter was written.

The consequences of this IGP being adopted unmodified will be catastrophic for absinthe producers outside the Val de Travers, and also for those companies in Europe and the US which distribute and sell non-Val de Travers absinthes.

There is some local opposition to the IGP in Switzerland itself from absinthe producers outside the Val de Travers, but if this is successful it may simply lead to the IGP being modified to include all Switzerland - no use at all to producers elsewhere. What is needed is urgent and concerted action from producers and distributors worldwide to stop this historical and geographic travesty in its tracks.

We are writing this letter to request your urgent support to fight this action. Without adequate support, E.U. producers will no longer be free to use terms like "Absinthe" and "Fée Verte". Our legal counsel is confident that the Swiss petition can be defeated, but there is no time for delay.

You may be aware that this legal team successfully overturned the French decree on fenchone and pinocamphone recently, and we have complete confidence in their professionalism and ability to defeat this matter.

We are asking for your participation, which is requested in the amount of one thousand Euros (€ 1.000,00). Your contribution will provide the support we need to fight this petition, and no more will be asked of you. The money will go directly to the account of the legal team, who have agreed to undertake this work at a substantially reduced tariff. Any surplus funds received will be returned by them to the donors on a pro-rata basis.

Please forward payment directly to NIXON PEABODY, our legal representatives at the coordinates below, reference the phrase "ABSINTHE IGP" together with your name and business when making payment, and inform us of your payment via email. Please advise if you have any questions, but please do so quickly, as we have less than 30 days to respond.

The clock is ticking, and time is running out. If everyone sits on their hands and hopes for the best, the IGP will be approved. We must act now, with the greatest urgency to stop this. Please join this urgent campaign immediately.

Sincerely,

Ted A. Breaux tabreaux@gmail.com
David Nathan-Maister david@oxygenee.com

Legal Counsel:

Legal Counsel:
Arnaud de Senilhes
Avocat à la Cour Associé
Managing Partner
NIXON PEABODY
32, rue de Monceau
75008 Paris, France
+33 (0) 170723600
adesenilhes@nixonpeabody.com

Nixon Peabody International, LLP
Crédit Agricole de d'Ile-de'France
Bank Code – 18206
Guichet Code – 00432
Account – 60235222423
IBAN – FR76 1820 6004 3260 2352 2242 332
BIC – AGRIFRPP882


QUOTE

Publication de la demande d'IGP pour l'Absinthe,la Fée verte et La Bleue
Berne, 31.03.2010

L'Office fédéral de l'agriculture publie aujourd'hui dans la Feuille officielle suisse du commerce, la demande d'enregistrement en indication géographique protégée (IGP) des dénominations «Absinthe», «Fée verte» et «La Bleue» .


Les trois dénominations désignent un seul et même produit, une boisson spiritueuse élaborée à partir d'alcool éthylique d'origine agricole, d'eau et d'un mélange spécifique de plantes. Leur enregistrement comme IGP a notamment pour objectif d'éviter les imitations et usurpations et de protéger tant la renommée que l'originalité du produit. La zone géographique de transformation est le district du Val-de-Travers dans le canton de Neuchâtel .

Né dans le Val-de-Travers à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, ce produit a rapidement connu un succès important, qui a contribué au développement économique de cette région. Au-delà de sa valeur gustative intrinsèque, ce produit doit également sa notoriété à plusieurs autres éléments, notamment aux rites complexes qui accompagnent sa dégustation ainsi qu'à la passion qu'ont suscité ses supposés vertus et méfaits. Même la période de prohibition, qui a duré de 1910 à 2005, n'a pas suffi à étouffer le lien unissant ce produit avec son terroir du Val-de-Travers. La réputation de l'Absinthe n'a cessé de croître, au gré de son histoire mouvementée et des mythes qui l'entourent .

Le registre des appellations d'origine ou des indications géographiques permet de protéger les noms géographiques ou traditionnels désignant des produits agricoles et des produits agricoles transformés dont l'identité et les principales caractéristiques sont déterminées par leur origine géographique. Lorsqu'un nom est protégé, son utilisation est réservée aux producteurs de l'aire géographique définie, pour autant que ceux-ci respectent un cahier des charges précis. La publication des demandes d'enregistrement est soumise à une enquête publique. Toute personne justifiant d'un intérêt ainsi que les cantons peuvent s'opposer à l'enregistrement pendant un délai de trois mois .

Le registre fédéral des appellations d'origine et indications géographiques compte actuellement 27 enregistrements: 19 AOC et 8 IGP. La documentation est disponible sous www.blw.admin.ch (Thèmes > Production et ventes > Désignation des produits et promotion des ventes > Appellations d'origine) .


Google translation (with a little fixing up):

QUOTE
Publication of the application for PGI Absinthe, the Green Fairy and The Blue
Berne, 3-31-2010

The Federal Office of Agriculture published today in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce, the application for registration of protected geographical indication (PGI) of the names "Absinthe", "Fée Verte" and "La Bleue".

The three names designate a single product, a spirit drink produced from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, water and a mixture of specific plants. Their recording as PGI's objectives is to avoid imitation and theft and to protect the reputation as the original product. The geographical area of transformation is the district of Val-de-Travers in the canton of Neuchatel.

Born in Val-de-Travers in the late eighteenth century, this product has quickly gained an important success that has contributed to economic development in this region. Beyond its intrinsic flavor characteristics, this product also owes its fame to several factors, including the complex rituals that accompany the tasting and the passion that prompted its supposed virtues and evils. Even the period of prohibition, which lasted from 1910 to 2005, was not enough to stifle the link between the product and its terroir of Val-de-Travers. Absinthe's reputation has grown steadily, according to her turbulent history and myths surrounding it.

The register of appellations of origin or geographical indications can protect geographical or traditional designating agricultural products and processed agricultural products whose identity and key characteristics are determined by their geographical origin. When a name is protected, its use is limited to producers of the defined geographical area, provided that they meet a set of specifications. The publication of applications for registration shall be subject to a public inquiry. Any person with a legitimate interest and the townships may oppose the registration for a period of three months.

The federal register of protected designations of origin and geographical indications currently records 27 registrations: 19 AOC and 8 IPG. The documentation is available at: www.blw.admin.ch (Themes> Production and Sales> Description of products and sales promotion> Appellations of Origin).
Green Baron
Like I said, steaming crock of bullshit. I'm sure they're all real nice fuckin' people though.
Donnie Darko
Who exactly is behind this? Is it Bugnon? He seems like he wouldn't give a fuck about such an obnoxious lawyerly endeavor, but I'm just curious who is behind it so I can make sure to never buy anything they make.

How funny is it that the damned Swiss were the first ones to ban the drink and are largely responsible for the sullying of its reputation that has persisted for a century, and it took a lot of legal effort to get them to recently un-ban it, but now they are suddenly the sole fountain from which anything named absinthe can flow and the heroic protectors of absinthe's name? What assholes!

What's next? Ford motor company prohibiting everyone else from calling any 4 wheeled vehicle a "Car" or "Automobile" if it wasn't made in Detroit?
Aggelos
Or descendants of Aztecs prohibiting "Chocolate" if it does not come from Tenochtitlan
absinthist
That producer ever since has been very strongly for using anything only from Vals-de-Travers, including wormwood plant itself:

QUOTE
en utilisant dans un futur le moins lointain possible de l’authentique grande absinthe (Artemisia Absinthium), cultivée comme jadis au Val-deTravers même et non en Allemagne, en Pologne ou ailleurs.
Kirk
That's worse than a cunt full of cold piss. What a bunch of low life, scum bag, rent seeking gangsters.
Who are the people responsible for pushing this and who supports it?
Absomphe
Sig updated.

Thanks, Kirk!
martin.zufanek
It's kinda funny. Swiss were the ones who banned absinthe and unbanned it just five years ago. And now few local absinthe producers from area not bigger than 88km2 wants to protect it? Oh, c'mon…
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ May 28 2010, 12:58 PM) *

Who exactly is behind this? Is it Bugnon? He seems like he wouldn't give a fuck about such an obnoxious lawyerly endeavor,

From knowing him, he would probably not give a fuck, but he'd probably not stop it either.

But it's hard to know, because the VdT people do have a chauvinistic (and usually harmless and almost charming) streak. And not only towards "foreigners", because you couldn't believe how much fuss they made about becoming only *one* municipality in 2009 (whilst everyone knows that someone from Môtier is obviously not to be confused with someone from Boveresse. After all, Boveresse is slightly more than a stone's throw away from Môtiers and walking from here to there takes at least five minutes).

To be honest, I can understand why they'd want to protect the name "la Bleue", which is clearly linked to geography.

Who got the "brilliant" idea to go overboard and also claim "la Fée Verte" (who isn't even green in the Val de Travers) and above all "absinthe" is a mystery to me.

If it were the French I'd be ready to blame Guy François, but he's on the other side of the fence.
Kirk
If it weren't for the fact that Ted Breaux's name appears on the letter, I would think he was helping with it.
I don't know how he feels today, but not long ago he told me absinthe, true absinthe, can only be made in a small geographical area. At the time, he said absinthe could not be made in the US, or anywhere else outside this small area.
Could it be that Ted supports the spirit of this idea of owning the name "absinthe" but not the specific locations?
Maybe in the future I will be a "distilled fennel with wormwoodist or teur. I don't care what they call it but I hate red tape.
Provenance
QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 29 2010, 05:59 AM) *

In short, if you have a passion for crafting and/or consuming quality absinthe, you will not find increased government involvement to be beneficial.


QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 29 2010, 07:52 AM) *

creates a new opportunity to screw over small producers.


QUOTE(Provenance @ Apr 30 2010, 06:46 AM) *

It looks like absinthe drinkers are going to have to get involved to protect a developing diverse market from being taken over by rent-seekers trying to limit competition.

absinthist
QUOTE(Kirk @ May 28 2010, 07:06 AM) *

I don't know how he feels today, but not long ago he told me absinthe, true absinthe, can only be made in a small geographical area. At the time, he said absinthe could not be made in the US, or anywhere else outside this small area.


In here:

QUOTE
Q. Are you planning on distilling here in the US. If so, when? If not, why not? What's coming next from you to the US?
A. I cannot do what I do from within the U.S., simply because the materials I need are non-existent there. Likewise, just as cognac, armagnac, champagne and calvados are traditionally French, absinthe is inherently of Franco-Swiss origin, and the tradition of absinthe is very much alive in its own birthplace.

Tibro
I guess I can kind of see business-type fucks making this kind of move. Artisans and craft people much less so. But the logic of the terms they're trying to usurp for their personal use just doesn't jibe with a geographical protection. And that's fucked up.

I'd welcome Oxy and/or Ted weighing in here, but somehow I think that's unlikely. Are any of the VdT distillers on the French forum? Any shit hitting the fan there?

For what it's worth, it doesn't seem appropriate or legally defensible that the term absinthe could be reserved for product coming only from the VdT. On the other hand, and this is only my own personal opinion, if a product distilled outside that region were tasty enough I'd probably buy it even if the official category designation was "licorice tasting crap".
Donnie Darko
While it is very true that specific locales produce herbs that are different in character and usefulness than other locales, that is a biological distinction and ultimately reduces to the discretion of the maker of the product, and as such cannot become a global edict forced down anyone else's throat. Is that Pontarlier Wormwood uniquely special? Hell yeah. But then Combier doesn't use it in Ted's Blanchette anymore, so I guess it can't be that special. Also note that Ted's product is intended to be a recreation of a long defunct regional brand and so in order to approach any modicum of accuracy, he is required to source his botanicals from a much more narrowly defined geographical region than others who wish to make quality absinthe. Other makers have not narrowly defined their product within those regional parameters, and that's perfectly fine too, it's certainly still "absinthe".

"Absinthe" was never named for a specific region anyway, so in my opinion it's a different argument than argument over Bordeaux wine, etcetera, as the market for those products have historical precedent for being built around their regional origins, which absolutely can make a big difference in the product. Note that nobody in Bordeaux is saying that only their product can be called wine. As elitist as the producers may be, they at least have the sense to acknowledge their product is a VARIETY of wine, not the exclusive definition of the word. This action by the Swiss, on the contrary, is just pure foolishness and anti-competitive.

I think this pathetic effort by whoever is behind it will backfire. If I can walk into my grocery store and buy "Swiss Cheese" from Wisconsin, then I don't think any of us have to worry about not being able to buy "Absinthe" unless it's from some 10 mile wide region in one of the most xenophobic countries on earth. Unfortunately though because they have initiated legal action, then it will require some money to stop their ill-conceived action. Lawyers always have ingenious methods of generating and perpetuating income….
Provenance
I can attest, as can others, that superb quality absinthe, genuine and authentic as it gets, has been distilled in the US.
thegreenimp
Click to view attachment……..a list of new recipients coming on for a Major Award. winnie.gif
Patlow
QUOTE(Kirk @ May 28 2010, 07:06 AM) *

Ted Breaux's…but not long ago…told me absinthe, true absinthe, can only be made in a small geographical area. At the time, he said absinthe could not be made in the US, or anywhere else outside this small area.
Could it be that Ted supports the spirit of this idea of owning the name "absinthe" but not the specific locations?


Could it be that a lot of things we take for granted nowadays were not even imaginable when he said that?

(Interest in CO absinthe in the US, herb availability, or US laws at the time.)

He said what he said, but who could have known?
eric
October 2008, More than a year after the US ban was lifted.
Patlow
Hhhmmm…
absinthist
Won't it end like with Żubrówka?
absinthist
QUOTE
Already in April 2003 as part of the EU accession negotiations, the flavored vodka Zubrowka, defined as vodka made with bison grass from the Bialowieza Forest can only be produced in Poland with ingredients obtained within Poland 's territory. In the section pertaining to agriculture in the EU accession treaty with the other entering Central and Eastern European states, it mentions that “ "Poland may require that for the production of vodka on its territory labelled as ‘Polish Vodka/Polska Wódka' solely specific raw materials of Polish origin are used or following traditional specifications and within the context of a quality policy pursued by Poland." The treaty continues by adding geographical designations to various spirits including Zubrowka which is defined as an “herbal vodka from the North Podlasie Lowland aromatized with an extract of bison grass.” Therefore, a vodka can only be called by the name “Zubrowka” if it produced in Poland with ingredients obtained from a particular area in Poland

Despite that, you can get many falsified "żubrówkas" easily obtainable on the market.
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