The spirit drinks sector encompasses gin, whisky, rum, liqueurs, tequila, vodka and a massive range of others.  Wherever they are made in the world, if they are sold in Europe they have to comply with EU rules.  There are European laws on labelling, production standards, excise tax, ‘geographical indications’, bottle sizes, allergens, additives and flavouring, to name just a few.  In some cases, national legislation also applies.

Law-making in the EU involves the European Commission, European Parliament and the 28 EU Member States: the procedures can be daunting, whether in relation to primary or implementing legislation.  Interpreting the rules is equally challenging and requires an awareness of context and structure.

With over 25 years’ experience of EU and national legislation in the spirit drinks sector, Soper Consulting can provide bespoke guidance and training on how the rules affect your brands, whether your labels comply, what to do when laws are being updated and how to fix things that go wrong.


The spirit drinks regulation is by far the EU’s most important law for the spirits sector.  A new regulation was published in 2019 which, among other things, contains significantly new labelling requirements – some are controversial.  The new provisions will necessitate label changes in certain sectors and revision of the legislation already seems necessary.  Fortunately, a detailed analysis of the new rules has been created to show how they will apply.


There are a vast number of spirits on sale in the EU, all of which need to comply with the relevant labelling rules.  Regrettably, they do not all do so, consequently risking challenges from enforcement authorities.  We can help ensure your labels comply, and thereby avoid problems later.


The European Union can seem daunting, whether from the perspective of its numerous institutions, the ways in which laws are enacted and amended or how all of it is applicable to the spirits sector.  Fortunately, training is available from people who have worked at the coalface of EU legislation for over 2 decades.


Ensuring you understand the rules in the spirits sector is vital.  However, the rules are in constant evolution, so you need to keep track of developments and, when laws change, become involved.  Early intervention with legislators is essential to ensure your concerns are taken into account.


Please get in touch to order a copy of the labelling analysis or to discuss any aspect of the EU

legislative framework for spirit drinks, including possible training requirements.

We will look forward to hearing from you.

© Soper Consulting Ltd 2019 | Nick Soper, Soper Consulting Ltd, Milngavie, G62 7PT, Scotland.
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