Today, the EU Official journal published Regulation (EU) 2019/787 on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, the use of the names of spirit drinks in the presentation and labelling of other foodstuffs, the protection of geographical indications for spirit drinks, the use of ethyl alcohol and distillates of agricultural origin in alcoholic beverages.

The new Regulation introduces new rules and aims to clarify the existing legal framework for spirit drinks regarding notably, the relationship between trademarks and geographical indications of spirit drinks and the use of allusion or references to spirit drinks in relation to other foodstuffs. More generally, the Regulation aims at guaranteeing a clear label and improves the protection of spirit drinks.

As an example, recital 12 of the new Regulation (EU) 2019/787 provides that:

“Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council should apply to the description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, save as otherwise provided for in this Regulation. In that regard, given the importance and the complexity of the spirit drinks sector, it is appropriate to lay down in this Regulation specific rules on the description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks that go beyond Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. Those specific rules should also prevent the misuse of the term ‘spirit drink’ and of the legal names of spirit drinks, as regards products which do not meet the definitions and requirements laid down in this Regulation.”


Apart from the rules on geographical indications which should apply two weeks after the entry into force of the Regulation, most of the provisions will be applicable beginning 25 May 2021.