Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Poland lost five-year "vodka war"

"I will dictate it to you right now, right after I receive the money. What kind do you want? Potato, grain, apricot, barley, mulberry, buckwheat kasha? You can even make moonshine from an ordinary footstool. Some people like footstool vodka. Or you could make a simple raisin or plum vodka. In a word, any one of the hundred and fifty moonshines that I know the recipe for." from "The golden calf" by Ilf and Petrov
Tuber or not tuber? That was the question the EU answered on Monday by saying vodka can be made from potatoes, and from sugar cane and grapes as well.
The decision ended a five-year "vodka war" that pitted northern producers like Poland, who said vodka is made only with potatoes or grains, and southern producers who like to throw sugar cane and even grape juice into the old distillery.
After reaching a deal with the European Parliament last June, Euroopean Union farm ministers agreed to accept other materials than grain or potatoes as a basis for making vodka, provided their origin is indicated on the label.
"The description, presentation or labelling of vodka not produced exclusively from (grain or potatoes) ... shall bear the indication 'produced from ...', supplemented by the name of the raw material(s) used to produce the ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin," the text of the final EU regulation says.
Poland and Sweden voted against the final deal, while Lithuania abstained, EU officials said.
For many months, Poland -- backed by its allies Finland, Sweden and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- argued that grain and potatoes should be the only ingredients.
But several other countries, including Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, disagreed and say Poland's stance was thinly disguised protectionism.(via guardian

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