Plymouth Gin Abandons Its ‘Geographic Indication’. Interesting.

on 21/11/14 at 5:01 pm


indexPlymouth Gin was first distilled in 1793 on a site barely a hundred yards from the spot where the Pilgrim Fathers had set sail for America nearly two centuries before. The bottle shows the Mayflower on its label to this day.

Back then, the idea of a European Union would have been laughable. Revolution raged across the English Channel in France and it was still 161 years until the birth of EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

But now, Plymouth Gin—still made on the same site and still the English town’s second-most-famous export after the Pilgrims—could be about to lose an EU endorsement meaning it can be made only in Plymouth.

That’s the same endorsement that means Champagne can come only from Champagne and Parmigiano-Reggiano (or Parmesan) cheese can be made only in the province of Parma in Italy.

Pernod Ricard SA, Plymouth Gin’s current owner, has decided not to apply to the EU for a renewal of the brand’s Protected Geographic Indication. In EU speak, the GI mark is awarded to beverages displaying “particular geographical and organoleptic characteristics.” A similar designation exists for foodstuffs. In plain English, it means that a product with an especially strong geographical heritage is protected against imitation. Other examples are Scotch whisky and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

A Pernod Ricard spokesman said it wasn’t in the best interests of the brand to retain the protection.