• Switzerland's news in English
 

Swiss absinthe makers get protected status

Published: 16 Aug 2012 18:29 GMT+02:00

The decision by the Federal Office of Agriculture (OFAG) protects absinthe produced in its supposed birthplace of Val-de-Travers in the west of the confederation.

The status, similar to the French Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) system, protects the names "absinthe", "Fee Verte" ("Green Fairy") and "La Bleue" ("The Blue One") used by distillers who make the drink made famous by artists in the late 19th century.

A raft of foreign manufacturers opposed the Swiss measure which was two years in the making, including from Britain, France, Austria, Germany and the United States.

Those opposed to the decision have 30 days to lodge their appeal at Switzerland's highest court, the Federal Tribunal.

OFAG said its decision to give Swiss absinthe from Val-de-Travers protected status was justified because it was this region "that made the drink's name".

There was no question of allowing the spirit from another country region or even another Swiss region to be sold since "it is not proven that there is a tradition" of absinthe production in these regions, it added.

The Swiss absinthe makers' organisation said it was delighted at the decision but its ultimate aim was to see the drink elevated to the same hallowed status as French champagne or cognac.

In total, 80 percent of Swiss-produced absinthe comes from Val-de-Travers and 65,000 litres were produced nationally in 2011.

Credited with hallucinogenic qualities and containing wormwood and other herbs, the drink was banned in Switzerland in 1910 after a man who drank it killed his wife and two children.

The ban was lifted in 2005.

In France, a near-100 year ban was put in place for the same reason and lifted in 2010.

For the French, absinthe's historic home is Pontarlier near the Swiss border. Some 15 producers make approximately 700,000 litres of the spirit per year, according to estimates.

The green spirit is most often drunk after placing a traditional perforated spoon containing a sugar cube on top of the glass, through which iced water is then slowly poured into the neat absinthe to produce the characteristic clouding effect.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Refugees get 'priority over foreigners' for jobs
Photo: Seco

Refugees get 'priority over foreigners' for jobs

The federal government is backing moves by the cantons, municipalities and employers’ groups to give priority to hiring refugees living in Switzerland over workers from outside the country. READ  

Horseplay triggers A1 motorway vehicle crash
Photo: Saint Gallen cantonal police

Horseplay triggers A1 motorway vehicle crash

Too much horsepower — literally — was blamed for causing a costly motor vehicle accident on the A1 motorway in the canton of Saint Gallen. READ  

Vatican foiled over bid to hide Swiss bank data
Photo: Jean-Pol Grandmont

Vatican foiled over bid to hide Swiss bank data

A top Swiss court on Monday rejected an appeal by the Vatican's bank to keep secret information from one of its Swiss bank accounts suspected of being used for fraud. READ  

Anglo expats mine creativity to earn crust
Gareth Knott: "Thankfully design is a universal language." Photo: Handout

Anglo expats mine creativity to earn crust

Switzerland’s job market is appealingly lucrative but sometimes anglophones need to be creative to find a job in a country where English is not an official language, as The Local's Emily Mawson finds out. READ  

Libya talks struggle to cement unity deal

A new round of peace talks between Libya's warring factions resumed in Geneva on Monday as the country continued to struggle with divisions. READ  

Presented by CurrencyFair
Avoid the costs of wild Swiss currency swings
Is any currency reliable forever? Photo: Shutterstock

Avoid the costs of wild Swiss currency swings

Want to avoid getting stung by currency fluctuations like those unleashed when the Swiss National Bank scrapped the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro? Join other expats in Switzerland who averted bank fees and market turmoil by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair. READ  

More work for same pay: firms tackle high franc
Photo: Stadler Rail

More work for same pay: firms tackle high franc

Responding to the surge in the value of the Swiss franc, certain companies in Switzerland are asking their employees to work longer hours without any extra pay. READ  

Tennis: Australian Open
Wawrinka wins tiebreak thriller to make quarters
Photo: STRDL/AFP

Wawrinka wins tiebreak thriller to make quarters

Defending champion Stan Wawrinka won a thrilling fourth set tiebreaker on Monday to down Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and book a place in the Australian Open quarterfinals. READ  

Average new Swiss cars have bigger engines
With an average horsepower of 342, Porsche had the most powerful engines among cars bought by Swiss motorists last year. Photo: UggBoy

Average new Swiss cars have bigger engines

Driving cars with bigger engines may be politically incorrect in some quarters but that isn’t stopping many Swiss motorists. READ  

World Economic Forum: Davos
Davos forum runs without security hitches
Snowmen at Davos. Photo: action/2015

Davos forum runs without security hitches

The 45th annual World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, which wound up at the weekend, ran smoothly without any security issues, Graubünden cantonal authorities said. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Number of 'immigrants' swells to third of Swiss population: report
International
Pricey Switzerland tops latest global cost of living study
National
Swiss travel agents and retailers cut prices after franc surge
Technology
Solar Impulse team unveils round-the-world route for sun-powered plane
Business & Money
Swiss central bank's shock move to let franc rise sparks debate
National
Markets panic as Swiss National Bank scraps euro rate cap
National
VIDEO: Swiss soldiers publish pictures of antics on internet
National
A portrait of modern Switzerland in ten stats
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Geneva-based expat pens seismic novel about Haitian homeland
Features
Tons of explosives finally removed from hundreds of Swiss sites
International
'Don't succumb to fear': Swiss President Sommaruga on terrorism
Sport
Federer claims historic 1,000th win at Brisbane tennis tournament
National
Swiss newspapers condemn deadly Charlie Hebdo terror attack
Business & Money
Hackers steal client information from Geneva cantonal bank
National
Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris sparks Swiss rallies
National
Pop star Madonna leaves her mark during Swiss mountain holiday
National
Disassembled Solar Impulse heads to Emirates in jumbo jet
National
US ambassador in Bern sparks flap over Swiss ski lift line 'chaos'
National
New President Sommaruga lauds 'bold' Swiss democracy
National
Hopes fade of finding missing Scottish researcher still alive
National
Scientists in Lausanne and Belgium step up search for alien life
National
Nude 'selfie' mayor heads Switzerland's top ten scandal list
Features
The Local's top ten snow sport alternatives to skiing in Switzerland
Culture
Suspected stabber Nabilla given conditional release from detention
International
Swiss hotel school grad 'hero' among Australian café siege victims
Business & Money
Switzerland cracks top ten list of best countries for business
Business & Money
Swiss National Bank imposes negative interest rates
Politics
Federal cabinet ministers rapped for accepting new limouisines
International
Swiss chocolate café at centre of hostage-taking drama Down Under
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Features
Exploring the 'most beautiful village' in French-speaking Switzerland
Business & Money
Italian thieves steal 260 tons of Swiss Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate
National
World's longest train tunnel — under the Swiss Alps — set to open in 2016
National
Porn film on video screen spices up fare at Swiss McDonald's restaurant
National
Masturbation scene in Swiss TV ad for Media Markt draws complaints
National
Cantonal lawmakers end 'happy hours' tippling in Vaud pubs and bars
Politics
Former concert pianist Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Culture
Jailed German art forger's paintings go on sale at Bern gallery
Business & Money
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Features
Long-time expats face dilemma: to be or not to be a Swiss citizen
National
Switzerland's voters massively reject strict immigration limits
Business & Money
Pieces of Napoleon's auctioned hair to be put in Geneva luxury watches
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,147
jobs available