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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. 


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