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Swiss IGP for exclusive use of the word "Absinthe"


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#31 ignis

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:24 AM

I hope this gets defeated but..does anyone know if the use of a plants name can be restricted? or merely the name of an origin of something?

and going completely the other direction, perhaps the name doesnt matter that much. The negative reputation that Absinthe has is a hinderence in it's acceptance by the majority.I mean it's great that open minded people try absinthe and enjoy it but in my limited experience, newcomers to the drink who have heard all the bullshit approach the glass like there's a crocodile in it and havent really got the mind set to really appreciate the quality.

Perhaps a new name for a superior product is not that bad.Posted Image
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#32 Jack Griffin

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:24 AM

I will buy no more Swiss abisinthe from companies involved in this. Sorry Alan! If it goes away, La
Clandestine and Recette Marianne will again be welcome on my table! It's a matter of what's right.

The Swiss have their heads up their ass on this one. All it will do is lose business from people like us.
Other distillers will relabel their product, and we will buy that instead. No big loss as the US makers are doing world-class work. I can understand wanting to protect absinthe's reputation from the crapsinthe
invasion, but to hurt honorable distillers who are producing fine absinthe in other countries is a slap in the face, and clearly selfish greed/nationalism.

My last international order were Duplais products, as they are outside VDT. Should this pass and all Swiss producers will be allowed to use the word absinthe, but no other countries, I will boycott them as well, sadly.

#33 Absomphe

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:52 AM

What he said.

Not that I've purchased any Swiss absinthe since the good stuff became available in this country, anyway.

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#34 Ron

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:01 AM

I hope this gets defeated but..does anyone know if the use of a plants name can be restricted? or merely the name of an origin of something?

Interesting question. The short answer is yes. Even a plant name can be restricted if there is a good enough case. A good example of this was the Prosecco DOCG granted in Italy. Prosecco is a grape varietal, grown all over. But the sparkling wine made from that grape, also called prosecco, was granted protection by Italy and the EU. This all came to a head not long ago when the product had been bastardized to the point of Paris Hilton going on Letterman to shill for a brand of cheap prosecco in a can. Read how the "Prosecco Consortium" of producers brought about the DOCG.

My guess is that the folks behind this have been closely watching how the prosecco issue played out.
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#35 Jack Griffin

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:34 AM

I've gone one step further with this as a consumer, and e-mailed a few european on-line vendors I've purchased from or plan to purchase from telling them how I will not order such products in the future, and that many people in many countries WILL be boycotting these products. I suggest all of you do the same.

As customers, we count. Our $$$ matter to Matter, so to speak (sic). If vendors know they will be losing money, the distributors will hear about it and so will the makers.

Hey Swiss IGP Nazis...win a word, lose millions in sales. Do the math.

#36 Clement Arnoux (Aggelos)

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:01 AM

Yeah... Right...

So, Kübler & Bugnon already hold the biggest share of the market because they go through all the big distributors worldwide, the other ones (Bovet, Charrère, etc) are too small and local to care.

I'm pretty damn sure you will hurt them if you don't buy online.

Sorry if I sound bitter.
Absinthe makes me a different man. Why shouldn't he also have his two glasses ?
Unless Absomphe-related, if it's about old things, you can ask me

#37 Jen Dixon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:32 AM

Thinking out loud now...
What happens to shops that sell absinthe (I would be one, as you know) and if I call myself Absinthe-Shop (as I do) and I sell products under that word, will I be in the unpleasant position of applying for permission (and possibly paying a fee) to use 'absinthe' in my shop name? Will I have to be 'approved'? That would affect shedloads of online vendors (and a few brick-n-mortar ones too). What about domain names that use 'absinthe' in their urls... could they (and, of course, me) get Cease and Desist orders?
Just thinking out loud, as I said.

I'm pretty sure this is going to come up as a hot topic in Boveresse this year...
I'm Jen, artist and dork. I used to run an absinthe shop. You can also find me at:
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#38 Joe Legate

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:34 AM

Instead of simply not buying VdT (or even Swiss) absinthe, the smart money will go to aiding the attorneys fighting the nonsense. That's the way the world works these days. My personal boycott is on and I'm going to put what money I can where my mouth is.

#39 Jen Dixon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:35 AM

Right on, Joe.
I'm Jen, artist and dork. I used to run an absinthe shop. You can also find me at:
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#40 Babble

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:46 AM

Kübler and Clandestine are two absinthes that I always have at home since they make up 2/3 of quality absinthe available in Canada. I will try my hardest to boycott and I wish I could contribute some money for legal fees. I just really hope that this doesn't pass.

#41 Ron

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 07:46 AM

I'm pretty sure this is going to come up as a hot topic in Boveresse this year...

Or perhaps not. The silence from VdT says much. Actually, it's quite deafening. If their intentions were anything other than sinister, it's quite reasonable to assume they would be talking to the community, talking to other producers, talking to consumers, etc. The fact that they didn't even announce their intent says much as well.

Aggelos, as for sbmac's sentiment, and the idea of a general boycott amongst us, you'll find that it's been quite effective against shameful products and producers in the past. Quite effective, indeed. If the VdT gang think this is a trifle matter, or that they shouldn't be concerned with pissing off the entire industry, burning every bridge into and out of the Val de Travers, and the effect this will have on their business, then I would only offer this advice: they should double their efforts in Malaysia, because the rest of the us won't be supporting them.
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Sometimes bad just gets so bad that it breaks thru to the other side and becomes good. - Phoenix

#42 Jen Dixon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:49 AM

I threw together a quick blog post about this over on absinthehour.com. Can't hurt to get the word out and have people join this discussion.
I'm Jen, artist and dork. I used to run an absinthe shop. You can also find me at:
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#43 ignis

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:11 AM

email from a store I get my bottles from, i wont say who because I didnt ask him to use this email.

"the appelation is a frontal attack to Oliver Matter (30mls distance from the VdT - btw.) and myself. We regard this as a very stupid movement of some former clandestine producers. All I can tell you at the moment is, that we took action to prevent the IGP and there's a good chance that they don't get this through. The deadline to oppose against the IGP is June 30th. However the process of approval or non approval can take from days to several years. We'll see how Swiss government is judging about it. I'm relatively relaxed because so many facts speak against the IGP."
"I just want silence. Jesus, it doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means right now, I like silence more."

#44 Touch-Money

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:16 AM

That's good news to hear!
“Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” - George Bernard Shaw

#45 Ron

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:21 AM

I'm not sure everyone is as optimistic, unfortunately.
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Sometimes bad just gets so bad that it breaks thru to the other side and becomes good. - Phoenix

#46 Jack Griffin

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:26 AM

Jen, you'll notice that my order from you last week was Blanchette and several Matter absinthes, no VDT
products. I decided this at that point, as I had a hunch this was coming. I frankly am not sure I'll buy absinthe from any of those distilleries again after this nonsense, even if it does not pass. I don't support arrogant bullies and snobs with my business. If this goes away, I MAY revisit these distiller's
products depending on how they behave and what do about all this nonsense.

I'm certain your business will be fine, and dropping VDT absinthe from your roster if need be will be felt in their wallets, especially if more on-line vendors do this.

#47 Jen Dixon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:30 AM

I wouldn't blame you for avoiding VdT bottles - it's a shame they're being this way.

I'll have to find you something lovely to take the place of your ex-girlfriend Recette Marianne. ;)
I'm Jen, artist and dork. I used to run an absinthe shop. You can also find me at:
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http://jendixonarts.com, what I do for a living
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#48 Jack Griffin

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:40 AM

There's WW, MOL, Pacifique, Marteau, and Leopold from the USA...Then we have the Jades and Blanchette from Ted B. and the products from Emile Pernot.

Who needs the VDT?

#49 leopold

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:45 AM

This is a very strange move. Don't understand why they would think that this is either historically accurate (we all know that absinthe was made in other countries other than Switzerland), or financially prudent. Funny to think that the Czech producers and Pernod Ricard are likely to be the biggest opponents of this move.

But IMHO, Mr. Matter shouldn't be comforted. The instant you involve politicians and money, anything is possible, and logic goes out the window in a hurry.

Wondering when we'll be getting the call from the boys at Viridian. And I'm pretty confident that Pernod Ricard can outspend any efforts by that small assemblage of distillers. Heck, I'd think that Pernod Ricard could outspend the Swiss Govt. if it feels that its interests are threatened.

This doesn't make much sense to me.

#50 Zman (Marc Bernhard)

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:55 AM

Instead of simply not buying VdT (or even Swiss) absinthe, the smart money will go to aiding the attorneys fighting the nonsense. That's the way the world works these days. My personal boycott is on and I'm going to put what money I can where my mouth is.



Why not do both, boycott and donate to the cause?

If you don't like anise at all, you're not likely to care for any decent absinthe, as absinthe is an anise flavored drink. It's kind of like asking if there are any good beers that don't taste like hops or malt.----Hiram

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Maker of Pacifique Absinthe and Voyager Single Batch Distilled Gin
Woodinville, WA, USA
www.pacificdistillery.com


#51 OMG_Bill

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:59 AM

The instant you involve politicians and money, anything is possible, and logic goes out the window in a hurry.

Thank you Todd, I couldn't agree more.
Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#52 Ron

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:59 AM

To be honest, I hadn't been really concerned before, only agitated. I figured that the mega beverage corporation would easily kill this. But as we draw closer to the endgame, perhaps it's prudent not to trust that Pernod will save the day?

And sbmac, appeasement and isolationism aren't generally successful solutions. Best to oppose this.

Also, Vieux Carre and St. George are domestic too.
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

Sometimes bad just gets so bad that it breaks thru to the other side and becomes good. - Phoenix

#53 Jack Griffin

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:01 AM

Traditionally, the way these things are fought is simple; people in the industry with something to lose band together and take action legally.

Consumers with something to lose speak with their voices, and their wallets by making it clear where
they will be SPENDING their money.

The two forces together are a powerful combo.

#54 Joe Legate

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:14 AM

My personal boycott is on and I'm going to put what money I can where my mouth is.

Why not do both, boycott and donate to the cause?

Precisely my plan, Z!

I placed an order with DUNY this morning. No Swiss absinthe but ample room for another bottle of Voyager.

#55 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:22 AM

While I applaud the offers of support from consumers, I believe this is a trade issue and should be fought primarily by those in the trade; any producers in a position to help defray legal costs should do so. IMHO, consumers should vote with voices and choices. Let the VdT producers know how you feel.*

The Wormwood Society will be contributing to the legal expenses; anyone who feels compelled to help with that can make a one-time donation at the link on the front page of the site, leaving a note as to the purpose, but as I said, I think that responsibility lies mainly with the producers.

To the Val de Travers producers behind this action: Shame on you; this is a misguided and unsporting anti-competitive move, based on hyperbole and nationalistic arrogance, not reality. It would appear that you feel as though your products cannot compete fairly, based on quality and reputation.

Based on this sort of logic, Jerry Springer is a proper Englishman.


*sbmac posted while I was composing.

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#56 m.a.mccullough

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 01:32 PM

Why can't they just focus on defining what an absinthe is and a La Blue etc etc and regulate the quality of what is going into the bottles that are labeled as such?!? I would love to buy a bottle of "absinthe" and be 100% sure there is no coloring dye in it nor a mixed and macerated oil mixture. I wonder if their only goal is to regain the leading share of the absinthe world? I mean i have seen prices drop significantly including free shipping from Europe ever since America started producing top-shelf absinthes.

Edited by m.a.mccullough, 29 May 2010 - 06:28 PM.

Absinthe Veritas, Distiller Probitas. These are the things we fight for.

#57 Jay

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 01:53 PM

Thank you all for providing this information to the community and for not being shy about where you stand. I agree completely that the attempt by the Val-de-Travers to legally claim the word "absinthe" for their exclusive use is absurd, shameless, and goes beyond poor taste. I have just composed a letter that I will be emailing to all of the distributors who are part of this cowardly act, stating that I will not be purchasing their products until their action has been withdrawn AND they apologize to the absinthe community. They are currently lower in my book than LTV and the fakesinthes out there.

I'd like to add some additional email addresses for some which are missing from Gwydion's original list:

For Bovet Racine Sàrl:

Racine Christophe
bovetjs@net2000.ch

The link for Alain Rey is broken, but here is his email:
Email: info@absinthe-rey.ch

And finally, for Yves Currit:
Yves.currit@bluewin.ch (it bounced back)


I dashed off a quick letter outlining my concerns and complaints, and sent it to each of the distributors. For anyone else who is looking for a quick form letter to use as a starting point (or ending point) for your own emails, you're free to use and/or modify mine as you wish. Here it is:


To [whom it may concern]:

I have recently become aware of the IGP filed for the Val-de-Travers that is an attempt to usurp the words "La Bleue", "Absinthe"and "Fée Verte".

The term "absinthe" does not originate nor refer to a region of Switzerland, and the implication that only Val-de-Travers is capable of producing high-quality absinthe is ridiculous and insulting. Countries as far-ranging as France, Spain, Germany, and the USA have been making fine absinthes for years, from before the Belle Epoque during which absinthe was at the height of its popularity, and continuing through the present day.

The Val-de-Travers has also produced very fine absinthes and continues to do so, and an attempt to register the words “La Bleue” as a geographically-based trademark would be likely be considered acceptable by most, but this shameless attempt to usurp the very word “absinthe” itself is absurd. I will not be buying absinthe from any producers associated with this act of cowardice and greed until their actions are rescinded and they make an apology to the absinthe community at large. This includes you.

Very sincerely,

Edited by Jay, 28 May 2010 - 02:30 PM.


#58 pierreverte

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 02:58 PM

This is a very strange move. Don't understand why they would think that this is either historically accurate (we all know that absinthe was made in other countries other than Switzerland), or financially prudent. Funny to think that the Czech producers and Pernod Ricard are likely to be the biggest opponents of this move.

But IMHO, Mr. Matter shouldn't be comforted. The instant you involve politicians and money, anything is possible, and logic goes out the window in a hurry.

Wondering when we'll be getting the call from the boys at Viridian. And I'm pretty confident that Pernod Ricard can outspend any efforts by that small assemblage of distillers. Heck, I'd think that Pernod Ricard could outspend the Swiss Govt. if it feels that its interests are threatened.

This doesn't make much sense to me.



Yes, isn't it convenient that little producers/enthusiasts are trying to be convinced to throw money at lawyers for this, when the big boys don't even make a public move as if they care? Like they are not aware? Shouldn't they be jumping all over this as if it was something important to their bottom line?

Why doesn't everyone's VdT buddy Alan Moss jump in here and assure us that this is not going to pass (only a joke son, only a joke) and he is doing everything he can to stop it?
Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#59 dakini_painter

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 03:01 PM

It would appear that you feel as though your products cannot compete fairly, based on quality and reputation.


Whether as a consumer or producer, this would be my impression too.

Regardless, as Gwydion also says, it is more of a producer issue. I'll admit total ignorance of how these things work (IGP claims). If there is a way to send a letter to the deciding organization, I'd want to do that. But I don't know if it's mostly a Swiss government decision and they don't care what I'd say.

A question for the other producers: what Federal agency is charged with assisting/protecting US businesses from unfair international competition? Shouldn't we be filing a some kind of proper complaint with them against the Swiss government and the VdT group for trying to abscond with the French name for wormwood?

btw, is there any evidence that clandestine absinthe was only made in VdT following the Swiss ban? If so, they can't claim "La Bleue" as theirs, but perhaps for Switzerland.

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#60 leopold

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 04:58 PM

Yes, isn't it convenient that little producers/enthusiasts are trying to be convinced to throw money at lawyers for this, when the big boys don't even make a public move as if they care? Like they are not aware? Shouldn't they be jumping all over this as if it was something important to their bottom line?


This is more than a little strange. My experience with this sort of thing is that the big dogs contact the little dogs like me, hoping to present a unified front from small to big player, making for a much stronger voice. The fact that they haven't contacted you, Peter, is very odd.

I haven't been contacted by anyone, and wouldn't have seen this if GS wasn't good enough to put this on ADI. Thanks, G.


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