Skip to main content

New laws for alcoholic beverages are urgently needed!

Since a couple of years, we do have the trend for micro-distilleries and boutique (you could them "craft") spirits.

Even longer we do have some "rogue" creativeness which is often more a plague than a blessing.

You want to know, why I am thinking this way?

Look - I don't have anything against creative beverages. I even welcome them with open hands. But the point I can't stand if beverage categories are muddled up! Why? Because it confuses basically everyone.

Here is an example found on Munchies
A soju made out of grapes.

But you really have to ask yourself, what does make this distillate to a soju?

It is traditionally Korean or Japanese (then you would spell it shōchū).

It is usually made out of barley, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, rice - even brown sugar.

It is usually distilled and has a lower alcohol percentage compared to Western spirits.
Now - our example here is made in the US and is made out of grapes. Why are they calling it soju???

I have to admit, that this Yobo soju is not the first brand, which made this annoying move. Think of vodka : I guess the first major brand which didn't distilled vodka out of grain or potatoes (again - please note, that a minuscule part of vodka - anytime in its history; was made out of potato) was Ciroc. And now you do have vodkas basically made out of anything. I have to admit, that for vodka it is kind of novel... still - these type of rogue categorization tend to mess with every ones head, and people just have a hard time to understand spirits.

What is the difference between a "clear grape brandy", a grape eau de vie, a grape based vodka and a grape based soju? Who ever could list the differences, is already quite an expert - for the rest: exactly - this is the point!

You could argue that it is good for the diversity of the spirit market: I put against: Even if you have very controlled and regulated spirits (think Straight Bourbon, Scotch Single Malt Whisky, Cognac, even or better especially London Dry Gin) there are still a lot of differences, and a lot of options how to differentiate the spirit. 
It is just not such an easy way out for the producer!


Update: so I slept some nights over this post - and I thought, that there is definitely a verdict missing!

So yes- spirits should be protected by law, for what they are. A whisk(e)y should be a distillate, which is made from grains (only) and aged in oak (entirely). The WTO should "take care of this" - but also the individual governments. Rum, supposed to be a distillate made out of sugarcane molasses (entirely) or sugarcane "honey" - also be aged a minimum time in oak (entirely) - with no significant amounts of sugar or other additives added! Basically every single spirit - every alcoholic beverage should have a outline, which is protected.

There is still enough leeway- and only because the existing distillates are protected doesn't mean, that you could not make a "new" category. 


Popular posts from this blog

How to use citric acid - and why you might not want to use it anyway!

To be honest, I shied away of this topic, because I think, people can misinterpret this - big time.

I don't want to be part of the problem - I want to be part of the solution! But when Chris, over at A Bar Above discussed this subject- I literally could not resist to join into "the discussion".

Here is the video:

I - however take a bit slower approach than Chris.
What is citric acid?
Chemical Compound
Citric acid is a weak organic acid with the formula C6H8O7. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and drinks.
Wikipedia Formula: C6H8O7
Molar Mass: 192.124 g/mol
Melting Point: 153C
Density: 1.66 g/cm3
Boiling point: 175C
Soluble in: Water
Why is it controversial?
In my "mixology world" it is controversial, as citric acid is the stuff, which makes the nightmarish sour mix [preferably in powder form] sour. Yeah - citric acid is the main ingredient in one of the most controversial [and in the modern craft bartending wor…

The Best Alcohol-free Drink - Ipanema

Usually I call them [out of laziness] mocktails - but really I never liked this denomination.
As "mocktails" are usually long drinks, it is even twice wrong, to connect them to a cocktail [which is technically a short drink with alcohol]. 
Apart of this, I am not a big believer in mocktails. Sodas can be fantastic [home made grapefruit soda is fantastic, or homemade ginger ale, ginger beer or any other odd ingredient sodas]. Juices - fine. Lemonades - yes, refreshing and good. And iced teas - can be absolutely amazing. Hence you don't need sickly sweet syrupy juice mixtures.
But yes - there are few good ones.
Most of them a mimicking drinks with alcohol. You can make a pretty good alcohol-free Planters Punch, Hurricane or Mojito, if you are using Caribbean Syrup. Or you can use a juniper syrup for some alcohol-free gin drinks.
A drink which I got to know long time ago, very early in my career, is a bit a different beast [well - you cannot call an alcohol-free drink a bea…

The misconception of Old Tom Gin

These days I have thought a lot about gin. There are a lot of gins coming on the market and some people are already calling it the “new vodka”.

While I do understand this notion, it is (out of my humble perspective) not at all comparable.
Yes - gin has been really exploited in marketing (like vodka) - but it is really like any mainstream trend. Vodka has been always a bit different: while a lot of gins have significant differences (especially due to their different botanicals) - quality vodkas lack the big differences and their subtle differences are subdued within the different moods people are in - or what they have eaten for breakfast or lunch, or if they had one drink before or simply with the mixers, the vodka is consumed with.
Anyway - one big topic I have contemplated about is Old Tom Gin. In my eyes, this style has been largely misrepresented and misunderstood.
The otherwise informative article in Imbibe shows exactly the issue - people get mislead by marketing of liquor comp…