• Switzerland edition
 
Swiss absinthe makers get protected status
Photo: Jack Newton

Swiss absinthe makers get protected status

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Helicopter and plane in near-miss in Zurich
Photo: Thilo Hilberer

Helicopter and plane in near-miss in Zurich

A passenger aircraft preparing to land at Zurich airport on Tuesday morning was forced to abort its landing to avoid an unauthorized air ambulance, media reports said on Thursday. READ  

Death threats for young socialist's flag swap plan
Molina suggested party members fly a flag white for peace instead. Photo: Balachandar Radhakrishnan

Death threats for young socialist's flag swap plan

A young politician who called for people to renounce nationalism and militarism by not displaying the country’s distinctive flag on Swiss National Day, August 1st, has received death threats. READ  

Festival fish throwing deemed 'unacceptable'
The fishy tradition dates back a century. Photo: Paul Asman/Jill Lenoble

Festival fish throwing deemed 'unacceptable'

An animal protection organization has called on Zurich’s guild of fishermen to stop throwing dead fish in the streets as part of a traditional parade during the annual Sechseläuten spring festival. READ  

Switzerland fetes 100 years of national park
The Swiss National Park was created in 1914. Photo: Caroline Bishop

Switzerland fetes 100 years of national park

The village of Zernez in the canton of Graubünden will lead celebrations for the 100th birthday of Switzerland’s only national park on August 1st, Swiss National Day. READ  

Geneva Conventions talks tabled for Palestine
Burkhalter and Abbas meet on a state visit in 2013. Photo: AFP Photo/Abbas Momani

Geneva Conventions talks tabled for Palestine

The Swiss foreign ministry said on Wednesday it is in talks about holding an international conference sought by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas focusing on protecting civilians in Gaza. READ  

Swiss man arrested in India over Maoist links
The man was detained in Kerala, India. Photo: Vinoth Chandar

Swiss man arrested in India over Maoist links

Authorities in India arrested a 24-year-old Geneva man on Monday after he attended a memorial for a communist activist in Kerala. READ  

Federer forced to tear down kids' play area
The star has an ongoing dispute with his neighbours. Photo: Sang Tan/Pool/AFP

Federer forced to tear down kids' play area

Authorities have demanded that Swiss tennis champ Roger Federer remove a children’s play area in the garden of his holiday home after neighbours objected. READ  

Zurich taxis charge world’s highest fares
Taxis in Zurich cost more than in 17 other major cities. Photo: eGuide Travel

Zurich taxis charge world’s highest fares

Taxis in Zurich are the most expensive in the world, according to a new survey. Hailing a cab in the Swiss city will cost you more than other major cities including Paris, London and New York. READ  

UBS turns in strong profits despite disputes
UBS achieved a 15 percent net profit rise. Photo: Martin Abegglan

UBS turns in strong profits despite disputes

Leading Swiss bank UBS turned in a strong profit performance in the second quarter, but highlighted on Tuesday the stark risks financial institutions face from campaigns by tax and regulatory bodies. READ  

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome
Burkhalter and Renzi are meeting in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Swiss-EU relations on discussion table in Rome

Switzerland’s relationship with the EU is on the agenda today as Swiss President Didier Burkhalter meets Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on an official visit to Rome. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Zurich taxis charge world’s most expensive fares: new survey
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
National
European Union rejects Swiss bid to rejig freedom of movement deal
Tech
Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking systems: IT experts
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
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

2,179
jobs available