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Gwydion Stone

Swiss IGP for exclusive use of the word "Absinthe"

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...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who are part of this cowardly act, stating that I will not be purchasing their products until their action has been withdrawn AND they apologize to the absinthe community.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.

 

Right on the money, Jay.

 

My personal boycott of VdT absinthe started with the earlier thread. Shortly thereafter, I was buying absinthe at Verte d'Absinthe in Paris...I had intended to pick up a couple of the Clandestine offerings that are not available here in the States. Instead, I bought one bottle of La Coquette and one of L'Enjoleuse.

 

I'm done with Swiss absinthe...except that which is produced outside of VdT. Matter's products are better than most of the VdT absinthe anyway.

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They don't care. They believe Oliver's distillery is insignificant anyway. They're also gracious enough to point out that he can still make products for export only (for the time being). Generous lot, them.

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I will not be purchasing their products until their action has been withdrawn AND they apologize to the absinthe community.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.

 

I can't fault your response to this situation at all, Ron. I'm terribly disappointed that a group of distillers who claim to care about absinthe would resort to such underhanded methods to bolster their own sales at such cost to the community at large. It was my hope that they could be shamed into apologizing profusely (and sincerely) and that over time the matter would fade into obscurity and be forgiven, if not forgotten. That may be naive and overly-optimistic, but the community of "second-wave" absinthe folk is already small enough, and I hate the idea of some kind of schism forming and crippling our small industry. It appears, however, that it may be too late for amends.

 

I agree completely about supporting Oliver, and my next blanche purchase (which will be soon, given that my girl likes it and we're running low) with be the Duplais. Hell, I might as well try the Balance while I'm at it to, as I've yet to have the pleasure!

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They believe Oliver's distillery is insignificant anyway. They're also gracious enough to point out that he can still make products for export only (for the time being). Generous lot, them.

 

 

Certainly Matter is small compared to the Czechs, though Duvallon says the artificially colored absinthe comes from Germany (I'm sure some does). But it's much better to say "We traditional Swiss absinthe producers are being trampled by big bad Germany" instead of "We traditional Swiss absinthe producers are being trampled by little tiny Czechia".

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I wrote to all the companies listed here.... this is the little that I can do.....

 

- Marcelo

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Too bad they didn't try and protect their "absinthe" going back to the early 90's

 

It would've been rather hard, given it was illegal to produce in Switzerland at that time...

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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?

 

As far as I'm concerned: yes (even though their little joke will have cost other people money and effort, something which does sadden me). From knowing some of them, most of them aren't nefarious, simply misguided.

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some kind of schism forming

Well, I can't see a schism forming. It's basically a few people in the VdT vs. the rest of the world.

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That is one individual (or in this case I should say induhvidual), not the official spokesperson of the organisation. He also doesn't have a clue, because the blog entry is riddled with inaccuracies (an IGP certainly isn't meant to protect only the Swiss market, despite what he says).

 

I particularly like the bare assertion in the IGP documentation that absinthe is not a plant; my three French dictionaries seem to think otherwise.

 

For anyone who thinks that a Swiss IGP wouldn't preclude Matter from exporting absinthe:

 

http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/c0_916_026_81.html

 

See "Annexe 8: spiritueux".

 

2. Dans la Communauté, les dénominations suisses protégées:

– ne peuvent pas être utilisées autrement que conformément aux conditions

prévues par les lois et réglementations de la Suisse, et

– sont réservées exclusivement aux boissons spiritueuses et boissons aromatisées

originaires de la Suisse auxquelles elles s’appliquent.

 

translated:

 

In the Community (the EU single market), these names can only be used according to Swiss laws and regulations and are reserved solely to spirits originating in Switzerland.

 

The Swiss IGPs are also offered protection outside of the EU, since the Uruguay WTO round agreements, which have many signatories (including the US).

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I particularly like the bare assertion in the IGP documentation that absinthe is not a plant; my three French dictionaries seem to think otherwise.

I think it's even more comical that the logic behind this, as stated in their application, is that in a survey that they conducted, respondents said "absinthe" refers to the drink and not the plant; therefore, absinthe does not equal plant. Of course, they had to claim this, otherwise it invalidates their application.

 

The Swiss IGPs are also offered protection outside of the EU, since the Uruguay WTO round agreements, which have many signatories (including the US).

I think also Lisbon. And there are further bilateral agreements under consideration which would dramatically increase the number of PGIs that Switzerland must recognize, and that the EU must recognize.

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And there are further bilateral agreements under consideration which would dramatically increase the number of PGIs that Switzerland must recognize, and that the EU must recognize.

 

That's just the mechanism to update the lists from the current agreement (in theory another country could oppose a new IGP's addition to the list covered by the agreement, but the mechanism makes list extensions pretty much automatic unless someone has grounds to object. Yeah, it's another point at which someone from other countries could block this silliness but it's best -- and most cheaply -- nipped in the bud at the source).

Edited by sixela

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Too bad they didn't try and protect their "absinthe" going back to the early 90's

 

It would've been rather hard, given it was illegal to produce in Switzerland at that time...

 

And yet, ironically, the VdT clandestine distillation of la bleues during the many decades of the ban is probably the covert "rationale" behind the entire claim.

 

Not that I'd expect that argument to be presented in court, however. :twitchsmile:

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Jeez, you leave for a couple of days without access to the boards, and all hell breaks loose!

 

This is most certainly a travesty. Even though I am not a producer and do not have any real financial interests in absinthe, I'll be sending some cash along.

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I particularly like the bare assertion in the IGP documentation that absinthe is not a plant; my three French dictionaries seem to think otherwise.
Even a quick define: absinthe in Google produces Princeton University's definition:

  • common wormwood: aromatic herb of temperate Eurasia and North Africa having a bitter taste used in making the liqueur absinthe
  • absinth: strong green liqueur flavored with wormwood and anise


It is very worrying that this whole thing stands a chance of passing.

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from wikipedia in French about absinthe:

 

Les spiritueux aux plantes d'absinthe sont un ensemble de spiritueux, couramment appelés simplement « absinthe », « fée verte » ou encore « la bleue ».

 

and also :

L'absinthe aujourd'hui

 

La liqueur d'absinthe, comme autrefois, titre entre 45° et 90°. Elle est produite notamment dans les distilleries de Fougerolles en Haute-Saône, à Pontarlier dans le Doubs, ville dont elle fit la richesse jusqu'à l'interdiction de 1915, et à Saumur par la distillerie Combier. On trouve aussi deux distilleries en Provence. Elle est notamment de nouveau fabriquée au Val-de-Travers (région de Suisse romande) berceau de l'absinthe, dans plus d'une douzaine de distilleries.

 

of course, since the website is in French, it makes no mention to absinthe in other countries, only France and Switzerland....

 

- Marcelo

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Holy Tits… go way for the holiday weekend and come back to this news! It’ll take me the night to re-read the thread with all the links before I can speak intelligently on this matter, but by all means I’m joining the personal ban and throwing in with the WS Support Fund! I think this is such typical legal-beagle ploys and tricks it disgusts me. But, we’ll all face it down (producers and consumers) and hope cooler heads prevail.

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Well, the application isn't exactly a masterpiece of legal argumentation...

 

Just to poke a few holes in the part of the argument that we talked about ("absinthe is not a plant"):

 

-What's the name of CAB's distillery? Doesn't it look suspiciously like the Latin name of a plant genus?

-Many labels of La Bleue depict leaves of a certain plant. Coincidence?

 

The poll is also irrelevant, because the same argument could be made for other products derived from plants. If I say "mustard" to 100 people, I bet most won't associate it with the plant, but the IGP is still "moutarde de Bourgogne", not just the generic "moutarde" or "mustard".

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Oh no - Gwydion agrees with me...there goes my reputation ;).

 

Are you sure you can't disagree just a little?

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Just to poke a few holes in the part of the argument

As if it needed any more holes! Nearly the entire application is bogus. The only true fact in there is that absinthe has been produced in Switzerland for a long time. That's it.

 

If I say "mustard" to 100 people, I bet most won't associate it with the plant, but the IGP is still "moutarde de Bourgogne", not just the generic "moutarde" or "mustard".

Hence the regional aspect, and the entire purpose, of PDO/PGI geographical protections. Even the French weren't arrogant enough to try and take control of the term "wine."

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Too bad they didn't try and protect their "absinthe" going back to the early 90's

 

It would've been rather hard, given it was illegal to produce in Switzerland at that time...

 

And yet, ironically, the VdT clandestine distillation of la bleues during the many decades of the ban is probably the covert "rationale" behind the entire claim.

 

Not that I'd expect that argument to be presented in court, however. :twitchsmile:

 

Yet they wish to protect "La Bleue".

 

I doubt anyone will go after them for their illegal gains and unpaid taxes for all those years. Certainly wouldn't want that to happen to them.

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I doubt anyone will go after them for their illegal gains and unpaid taxes for all those years.

 

The taxes are not the problem - they all paid excises on the alcohol they were using anyway.

 

As for the illegal distillation, producers were offered amnesty if they would go legit -- until a deadline -- so the members of the "association" have nothing to fear there.

 

I also doubt most made a lot of "illegal gains". I think a certain US person probably earned more money on the back of La Bleue-craving US citizens than the distillers did.

Edited by sixela

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Time for me to join the forum again after several years.

 

First of all, I'd like to thank you all for your mental support. Oliver and I were pretty shocked when we heard about the IGP 2 months ago. We are against ANY kind of IGP! Products have to be good enough to speak for themselves, they must not be "protected" be a stupid seal!

 

We collected quite some material and joined forces with other parties. I can't go into details at that point, but there are several strong arguments speaking pretty much against the IGP, but as someone wrote before - when money and politics is involved, anything is possible.

 

Therefore it's very important that oppositions are entered from a lot different parties, not just the direct involved companies.

 

I don't know who exactly is the driving force behind the Association Interprofessionel d'Absinthe, but obviously their members are known. Some of them just have to learn they are on the wrong track.

 

We feel pretty much betrayed since back in 2005 all these former illegal producers were amnestied and they are now asking for federal protection? That's like asking for a bonus for their illegal activities in the past!

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Welcome back. It's nice to see you around here again. Cheers!

 

It's a shame such an ugly issue brings you back though. *smile*

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