Category Archives: Labelling

Irish Labelling of Alcohol Proposals, Transparency, Clarity & Honesty in Action

The Alcohol Industry across Europe is getting a bit hot under the collar over Irish plans to label all alcoholic drinks with a health warning.

Labelling on a Pan European Rum – except in Germany where it’s Ron Bengalo!

I find the furore quite amusing.

It was – and still is – popular among many pundits to clamour for stricter labelling on alcoholic products. Be it whether caramel colouring was added or not, distillery of origin or cask maturation regime used in creating the liquid – it all results in further information being displayed on the label to inform the consumer.

Distilled in Bow St Distillery?

Some purists take it a step further in calling drinks companies dishonest for not showing such detail.

Yet when it comes to displaying additional health information – there seems to be opposition?

Mit Farbstoff – for Germany

The buzzwords used by the information brigade appear to hold true for the health label proposals.

It’s transparently clear there are health risks associated with drinking alcohol.

The labels will be giving clarity to those risks by displaying a warning.

What can be more honest than allowing such proposals to proceed?

Is the drinks business trying to hide something?

I find the outcry of extra costs to be a lame excuse.

Would Italian wording work in Ireland?

Various EU countries have a variety of labelling rules in action. Germany – for example – requires a statement to say if caramel colouring is added. Any producer operating in these jurisdictions already have to provide labelling to those differing states.

It’s business as usual as far as I can see.

I would however take a dim view of any producer lobbying against the health proposals.

Health warnings in Vietnam

To use the language of the purists – there’s a level of dishonesty by opposing such transparent & clear proposals designed to give additional information to the consumers.


Lancet article on Irish Health Proposals on Alcohol labelling here.

Opposition to health warnings here.


Spirit Labelling – What is to be done?

A recent twitter spat got me thinking.

It centred on Rum – but applies to all categories.

White Rum c/othewhiskeynut


One train of thought is the more information the better.

Sounds reasonable.

But every time the issue arises a chorus of similar phrases crop up.

‘Lying’, ‘cheating’ & ‘out to gouge us’.

Paints a rather paranoid & fearful picture of those big bad spirit manufactures & regulatory regimes that conspire to outwit us – into buying a liquid we enjoy drinking??

151 Proof Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Just don’t buy the stuff if you’re that worried.

Spirit manufacturing is a highly regulated, highly legislated industry – regardless of country of origin.

A whole raft of rules & standards have to be adhered to before any product reaches market – one of the most important being that it’s fit for human consumption – and anyone who doubts that clearly has no faith in those measures – nor the manufacturers.

Aged Rum c/othewhiskeynut

So why would additional labelling provided by those very same bodies make any difference if you don’t trust them anyway?

The other train of thought is simply the taste test.

It’s called blind tasting – & I’m a fierce big proponent of it.

Many spirit competitions are conducted using this method and it’s the most honest & transparent system there is.

Blind tasting c/othewhiskeynut

You are presented with a line of identical bottles stripped of branding, fancy presentation & flowery prose extolling the virtues of the liquid within.

I trust my palate to decide in such situations whether I enjoy the spirit or not.

And I also trust the regulatory systems in place that the spirit before me is safe to consume & is what it says it is.

If you want more information then buy from manufacturers that provide it – but don’t make out those that show the minimum legal requirements are somehow ‘cheating’ you. They will taste just as good – or bad – as those with with the complete works of Shakespeare attached.

There is one proviso though.

Make sure any information provided is accurate.

Unlike the manufacturer below.

A 50 year old whiskey? c/othewhiskeynut

Bow St Distillery closed in 1971.