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Swiss IGP for exclusive use of the word "Absinthe"


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#61 pierreverte

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 05:45 PM

sometimes it's better not to get the invitation...though I was made aware of it some time ago and am willing to offer historical facts, which will refute any claim to exclusivity, legal or not, nor do I believe that it could be enforced or that countries outside of Switzerland would even repect such a law.
Doesn't Korbel still call itself California Champagne? (maybe not the best reference, but you know what I mean)

The reason that the fights in the absinthe community are so bitter is that there is so little to lose...
Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#62 leopold

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:06 PM

"so little to lose...." Ha.

"sometimes it's better to not get the invitation". Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm the last name on the phone tree.

I can't foresee a situation where it'd be illegal for us to make our absinthe, but what the hell do I know?

I'm coloring some of my un-sanctioned Absinthe on Sunday, Peter. Do you suppose some local Nestle employees will picket out front?

Have a great weekend, Peter.

#63 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:50 PM

Todd, are you still at distiller (at) leopoldbros.com? I sent out an email to the producers I have addresses for.

Back on topic, the reason France isn't doing anything (as I was reminded by someone when I asked the question) is that technically, just like in the US, there is no such spirit as absinthe. Legally, "absinthe" is still banned there. They cannot very well defend a product they have yet to exonerate on their own soil.

The reason P-R isn't getting involved is likely that they don't really care. I'm sure their share of the absinthe market is about .0001% of their portfolio, revenue-wise.

there is so little to lose...

I guess you have a better backup plan than I do, because if I can't make absinthe, I'm pretty screwed. At 53, my tech skill-set is somewhat outdated so I'll probably end up as a barback somewhere.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe and Foxtrot London Dry Gin
Distiller, Stone & Szilard Distilling Co.
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#64 m.a.mccullough

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 01:12 AM

Don't fret Gwydion, you and every other wonderful distiller on here can get rid of the name absinthe and just keep your brand name on the label, and I would still buy and enjoy it.
Absinthe Veritas, Distiller Probitas. These are the things we fight for.

#65 Ron

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 01:54 AM

Why can't they just focus on defining waht an absinthe is ... and regulate the quality ... 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.

They already have a federal definition, and a very good one at that. But that's not what this is about. This is about trying to eliminate competition rather than competing on merit alone. Criminals do this. Gangsters do this. Dodgy absinthe producers in the Val de Travers do this.

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.

What if they withdraw their application? What if they apologize? What if the application is denied? What then? We all go back to being friendly and forget this ever happened? I don't plan on buying any absinthe from the gangsters in the Interprofession. Ever. Those not part of the mutiny are okay in my book, especially Oliver, who has a giant VdT target painted on his back.

Why doesn't everyone's VdT buddy Alan Moss jump in here

I've seen Alan reading this thread a few times already. I don't blame him for staying out of the fray, since he's the brand ambassador for one of the conspirators. He's likely to get a spoonful of brimstone here. It's a tough knock sometimes when you're the PR guy for a firm who runs terribly afoul of the industry and consumers. But staying quiet and letting the story be controlled by others is surely not a good PR policy. So I expect Alan will make a statement once he's talked with CAB.

what Federal agency is charged with assisting/protecting US businesses from unfair international competition?

US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration would be my guess, Cheryl. Trade.gov

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.

Ah, but the inclusion of Oliver and other Swiss distillers would put them on the defensive again. This is about eliminating competition.

nor do I believe that it could be enforced or that countries outside of Switzerland would even repect such a law.
Doesn't Korbel still call itself California Champagne?

That's the point I made earlier too. Not sure about Korbel, but champagne (among other geographically protected products) is allowed to be produced in the US, per 26 U.S.C. § 5388 : Designation of wines. The point is that even in a solid argument for geographical protection of a name, the US (and other countries) still don't go along. And I don't think this argument is anywhere near as solid as Champagne.

The reason P-R isn't getting involved is likely that they don't really care. I'm sure their share of the absinthe market is about .0001% of their portfolio, revenue-wise.

Or because we've repeatedly slagged off their absinthe offering. Perhaps they want us to do all the leg work and ride the coattails of others (they wouldn't do that, would they?). Perhaps you're right and they are considering writing off their absinthe, but I don't think that's the case.

I guess you have a better backup plan than I do, because if I can't make absinthe, I'm pretty screwed.

Bah. I don't think it will come to that. Just keep distilling. It's all a distiller can do.
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

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

#66 Ron

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 03:14 AM

A possible answer to the "why isn't Pernod helping" question.
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

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

#67 pierreverte

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 04:02 AM

there is so little to lose...

I guess you have a better backup plan than I do, because if I can't make absinthe, I'm pretty screwed. At 53, my tech skill-set is somewhat outdated so I'll probably end up as a barback somewhere.


My point is that in the grand scheme of alcohol related things, absinthe plays a very small part...so far.
I am painfully and personally aware of the multitude of difficulties facing small producers, importers and distributors, even without having to deal with a disappointed, over-stocked group of ex-moonshiners who now ironically want full and unjust protection from the federal government that made them infamous by deeming them outlaws in the first place.

Edited by pierreverte, 29 May 2010 - 04:04 AM.

Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#68 Joe Legate

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 04:41 AM

<snip> disappointed, over-stocked group of ex-moonshiners who now ironically want full and unjust protection from the federal government that made them infamous by deeming them outlaws in the first place.

I hope I misunderstand and you are not referring to US absinthe producers. That is not an accurate description of anyone I know producing (or trying to produce) absinthe here. In the grand world of liquor production, absinthe is insignificant but that doesn't lessen the concern of legitimate small business owners that have invested considerable personal resources. There is nothing ironic in that.

#69 Jack Griffin

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 05:00 AM

Hey Joe, it was clear to me he was talking about the VDT guys.

#70 Joe Legate

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 05:20 AM

I'm glad to hear that, Steve. Thanks for correcting me.
Apologies, PV.

#71 Jack Griffin

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 05:59 AM

Scott...but crap, even my Mom forgets and calls me Steve from time to time....

#72 Ron

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 06:01 AM

My mother used to run through the names until she hit the right one.
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

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

#73 OMG_Bill

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 06:21 AM

A waitress where I used to eat breakfst daily called me Rick. I corrected her a few times but it didn't take and I let her call me Rick for a number of years. There's more but not this thread.

Back to the original thread. Thanks. :wave2:
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.

#74 leopold

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 06:55 AM

Todd, are you still at distiller (at) leopoldbros.com? I sent out an email to the producers I have addresses for.


It was stuck in my spam folder, I'm assuming because of the attachments. Thank you!

#75 leopold

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 07:00 AM

....... even without having to deal with a disappointed, over-stocked group of ex-moonshiners who now .....


Absinthe has been a rough ride, I'd imagine, if you're looking to be one of the big boys. It went from being the fastest selling spirit in the US, to the slowest selling spirit in the US, in a matter of months...heck, in some areas, a matter of days. I can only imagine what effects this has had on the "big" players making distilled absinthe. I think that this situation has had a hand in crafting the IGP.

Maybe I'm wrong.

#76 pierreverte

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 09:00 AM

....... even without having to deal with a disappointed, over-stocked group of ex-moonshiners who now .....


Absinthe has been a rough ride, I'd imagine, if you're looking to be one of the big boys. It went from being the fastest selling spirit in the US, to the slowest selling spirit in the US, in a matter of months...heck, in some areas, a matter of days. I can only imagine what effects this has had on the "big" players making distilled absinthe. I think that this situation has had a hand in crafting the IGP.

Maybe I'm wrong.


Most assuredly, you're right. The VTD locals expected a boom that would last a long time (and didn't expect a slump so soon after the US opened up) made too many products that taste almost the same, and several pissed off people who could have really helped them. Now they are trying to gain an unfair advantage, based on a product they now make where most don't really taste much like the absinthe that was originally made there.

And Joe, sorry if you misunderstood, I was referring to the V-d-Tvians, I have always been supportive of the absolute correctness of producing US domestic absinthes and am staunchly in the camp that believes quality absinthe can be made anywhere there is a good still and distiller, it is a matter of sourcing and bringing in and/or growing the ingredients in a suitable terrior. Hell, during the day, wormwood was being grown in Wisconsin and New York and being shipped back to Europe to meet the demand.

Edited by pierreverte, 29 May 2010 - 09:06 AM.

Absinthe is always greener in the other glass.™

#77 Joe Legate

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 09:13 AM

I appreciate that. Thanks.

My mother used to run through the names until she hit the right one.

Dammit. I've been called worse than a "mother" today. Deservedly so, I suspect. Apologies, Scott.

Back to your regularly scheduled thread.

#78 Jack Griffin

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 09:56 AM

I suspect there is more (or less ) to this than we know. If the members of VDT would come out and talk about this, it might end so much of the speculation that is causing all the remarks about greed, competition, thuggery, etc. It certainly IS easy to jump to these conclusions when met with such silence; however, these VDT distillers COULD be under advice from counsel NOT to speak right now even if they want to.

This whole thing COULD be about Czechsinthe and Switzerland/EU, and have little or no international
ramifications on producers outside Switzerland/EU. I know very little about this stuff admittedly,
but I do know that fears can run rampant when people at the center of controversy aren't talking. Sometimes they aren't talking because they're shifty sneaky bastards, and sometimes it is because they can't yet, and really aren't a threat at all.

I guess it will all come out, but until I know more, I can't assume the worst of anyone.

#79 ignis

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 01:31 PM

This whole thing COULD be about Czechsinthe and Switzerland/EU, and have little or no international
ramifications on producers outside Switzerland/EU..


so is that better? is it only shithouse if it effects America? the EU is a big place with many an 'international' country.

Edited by ignis, 29 May 2010 - 01:32 PM.

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#80 Jack Griffin

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 02:09 PM

As I said, I don't know as much about these things as others, but it seems those who know the most are keeping silent. I heard from someone involved in this from that region, that this won't affect other any countries who make proper absinthe. If someone knows otherwise and can share facts, I'm all ears. I'll be the first one to boycott these guys forever if their intent is anything other than limiting the production of crap that can be labeled absinthe...if however makers who avoid sweeteners and fake coloring will not be touched by this, I see no harm. Fill me in guys... if you know what's really going on...The only info I've seen here was speculation, and I'd hate to see good people worrying for nothing. Don't bite me in the ass for making sense here guys...I'm open to details, and certainly NOT on the side of greed and bullying.

#81 m.a.mccullough

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 06:43 PM

They already have a federal definition, and a very good one at that. But that's not what this is about. This is about trying to eliminate competition rather than competing on merit alone. Criminals do this. Gangsters do this. Dodgy absinthe producers in the Val de Travers do this.


How great would it be if all the retailers refused to carry their products. Get gangsta with these ganstas! Stick a fork in em' they're done. :fork:

Like the great band Muse says:

" Rise up and take the power back
It's time the fat cats had a heart attack
They know that their time's coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not enslave us
We will be victorious"
Absinthe Veritas, Distiller Probitas. These are the things we fight for.

#82 Jack Griffin

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 08:14 PM

so is that better? is it only shithouse if it effects America? the EU is a big place with many an 'international' country.


WTF? Man, a bit of edge there ignis... I said nothing about it affecting only America. Perhaps you're seeing thru your own filter. What I've been told and heard is that this is about stopping czechsinthe from being called absinthe in Switzerland, and that people making real absinthe in other countries have nothing to worry about. If this is not the case, I want to know! Re-read my posts please.
It seemed quite clear that I was talking about crappy absinthe possibly being at the heart of this.

You quote one part of my post, skipping over the next post I made which was quite clear and unbiased, then allude to something I never said...not cool. I sense we all want the same thing. Please endeavor to not bite me in the ass for simply asking questions and wanting to know more.

#83 Green Baron

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 10:13 PM

The most unfortunate thing is that it's a band of small producers making at least ok absinthe that are involved. If it was a big megacorp that mass markets crap and hurts the category, I'd be up in arms with a little more glee. But this fight isn't exactly against "the man". "The man" seems perfectly content to watch small producers fight each other.

The fact they haven't stepped in the legal arena makes me wonder if there's more to the story. Though I trust Oxy quite a bit, I suppose it's possible people are overreacting and that the IGP affects only Switzerland, not the whole EU. But even if that was the case, it appears Matter would still get screwed over and that the definition of absinthe would be legally blurred.

Edited by Green Baron, 29 May 2010 - 10:15 PM.

This post has been edited over and over again by Green Baron

Chasing the green fairy in my triplane!

"A decorous absinthe will persuade your whisper away with its hooch essence..."

#84 ignis

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 01:47 AM

so is that better? is it only shithouse if it effects America? the EU is a big place with many an 'international' country.


WTF? Man, a bit of edge there ignis... I said nothing about it affecting only America. Perhaps you're seeing thru your own filter. What I've been told and heard is that this is about stopping czechsinthe from being called absinthe in Switzerland, and that people making real absinthe in other countries have nothing to worry about. If this is not the case, I want to know! Re-read my posts please.
It seemed quite clear that I was talking about crappy absinthe possibly being at the heart of this.

You quote one part of my post, skipping over the next post I made which was quite clear and unbiased, then allude to something I never said...not cool. I sense we all want the same thing. Please endeavor to not bite me in the ass for simply asking questions and wanting to know more.



wasn't really meant as an insult,I was adding to your post not criticizing it. I was merely pointing out that an EU wide restriction of rights would encompass nearly all the good absinthe making countries.

the only country that probably won't be affected by this will be the U.S(for sales within the U.S) as you guys don't give a rats arse about the rest of the worlds rules.

Your distillers may have to try some clever labeling for overseas sales but thats about it I reckon.

no offence meant sbmac

Edited by ignis, 30 May 2010 - 01:49 AM.

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#85 Joe Legate

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:43 AM

Our passion makes it easy to be misunderstood. Only a few posts ago, I completely misunderstood PV. We try to be clear and concise but it's not easy. :cheers:

#86 Jack Griffin

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:50 AM

Thanks Ignis...A lot of us do care about the rest of the world and working with it. I despise the shallow and arrogant/ignorant policies of this country at times, and have done my part to try to change things to no avail. The shit is deep in Washington. Even the good guys have to put on waders to walk through the stink, and dress like the bad guys to get anything done.

Please don't confuse the people with our politics. As a country, in many ways citizens have had our country hijacked from us... It's come to a point where we have very little ability to make fast big changes in our own country. It's very frustrating. That's one reason why we get so passionate about the few things we CAN do.

#87 Ron

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:20 AM

Scott. Regardless of what you were told in a PM, and what reassurances were made, I can guarantee this IGP application is a bona fide disaster. No one is jumping to conclusions. And the 90-day window to contest the application is nearly gone. This is not the time to sit on one's hands and hope that the VdT producers are being honest and fair, and that their motives are not corrupt. This is not the time to place the burden of proof on the prospective victims of this piracy.

Counsel has possibly ordered them not to speak about their own monopolistic application? This is public domain my friend. Not a private legal business issue.

There is no widespread production of fake or bad quality absinthe in Switzerland. It's impossible with their standards. It's literally against the law. Ipso facto, this application was meant for the sole purpose of restricting producers outside of Switzerland. A Swiss IGP for "absinthe" will be virtually guaranteed recognition in the EU. The EU supports, and encourages, protection of wine, spirits, agricultural products and foodstuffs. The EU has plans to incorporate all of these protected designations, and even create a legally enforceable global register. Regardless of what you were told, the fact of the matter is that the Swiss first step is all that will be required. Not only does the EU protect the PGI's of member states, but they also have a register of third country PGI's (those not members of the EU).

Switzerland is not an EU member state. As such, and in order to protect EU interests in Switzerland and Swiss interests in the EU, there are existing agreements in place between EU and Switzerland, including recognition of PGI's.

This whole thing COULD be about Czechsinthe and Switzerland/EU, and have little or no international ramifications on producers outside Switzerland/EU

As Ignis pointed out, your assumption seems a bit off the mark. Ramifications within the EU would be disastrous. Yes, it's quite possible that the Czechs may be forced to stop labeling their product "absinthe." But so would every other state in the EU.

I heard from someone involved in this from that region, that this won't affect other any countries who make proper absinthe.

Completely untrue. And you've also heard from Ted and David to the contrary. So I suppose this boils down to who you trust.

I'll be the first one to boycott these guys forever if their intent is anything other than limiting the production of crap that can be labeled absinthe

That isn't an existing problem in Switzerland, Scott. So why do they need the Swiss IGP? This is an attempt to set legal foundation. And their application for the IGP has nothing to do with crapsinthe. It seeks to take sole ownership over the term "absinthe." Period. Full stop. Plain and simple. No one else can use it.


Read: Agricultural Product Quality Policy: Impact Assessment, Part B, Geographical Indications

Read: DG Agriculture and Rural Development Working Document
"The following cannot be protected as PDOs or PGIs where to do so would mislead consumers, or can only be protected subject to certain conditions to balance the interest of all parties: generic names; names of plant varieties, renowned trademarks and animal breeds."

Read: Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89
And check out Annex III for existing PGI's for spirits.

Read: Quality Food, CAP Reform, and PDO/PGI
"The EU wants a system of world-wide registration for geographical indications that have legally binding effects related to the protection of GIs."

FYI: EU agricultural product quality policy
FYI: EU agricultural product quality policy: Documents and links
Every hour is green hour. -Hedonmonkey

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

#88 ignis

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 05:24 AM

Thanks Ignis...A lot of us do care about the rest of the world and working with it. I despise the shallow and arrogant/ignorant policies of this country at times, and have done my part to try to change things to no avail. The shit is deep in Washington. Even the good guys have to put on waders to walk through the stink, and dress like the bad guys to get anything done.

Please don't confuse the people with our politics. As a country, in many ways citizens have had our country hijacked from us... It's come to a point where we have very little ability to make fast big changes in our own country. It's very frustrating. That's one reason why we get so passionate about the few things we CAN do.


mate, I wouldn't define a whole people by the way their countries foreign policies are formed or by the way their large businesses conduct themselves. There is not a country in the world that is without fault and greed.

I personally have seen the devastation caused by an Australian company acting without conscience or morals within the pacific islands.

but back to Absinthe, if you think about it, the U.S.A may actually benifit from this action in some way. If the EU restricts trade and the U.S.A ignores it (as they should) then the market may open up for your distillers. At the moment American Absinthes are at the top of the expensive tree to purchase here in Europe and apart from curiosity I cant see the reason to spend that extra money when there is such fine absinthes made here. If those Euro absinthes arent available anymore once this passes then.....????

I do believe as was said in one of the previous posts about French absinthe that this will be all about labelling and manipulation of words.

It was also stated that this seams such a pointless move by the VdT that it is equivalent to shooting themselves in the foot.

EDIT; Ron posted while i was writing this, my post is mere conjection and thought and I'm merely writing/thinking out loud.

Edited by ignis, 30 May 2010 - 05:34 AM.

"I just want silence. Jesus, it doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means right now, I like silence more."

#89 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 09:06 AM

What Ron said, who apparently has much more time on his hands than I do at the moment. ;)

Bottom line for the US is this: our choice is to either oppose this and make sure this doesn't happen, or sit on our hands and trust that if it does, the US will do the right thing and tell the Swiss to go piss up a rope.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but somehow I'm not so comfortable trusting the US on matters of absinthe. And I too have been advised by counsel: if this does pass, it could very easily be the end of absinthe production outside of Switzerland, based on the whims of a given government. However I've also been advised that with adequate opposition—which is now in place—the thing most likely doesn't stand a chance.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe and Foxtrot London Dry Gin
Distiller, Stone & Szilard Distilling Co.
www.absinthemarteau.com


#90 Jack Griffin

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 09:19 AM

Thanks guys...I'm very happy to have your perspective on this. It is what I was asking for. Much of what you're saying makes perfect sense. I hope this does not pass, and that has always been my wish.
I was merely asking about possibilities, not voicing an opinion! We'll all now a lot more about this int he pending weeks I'm sure, but after reading the material suggested, I tend to agree with you guys about things. If something is actually good for the US, but bad for others, I am certainly not behind it.


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