Bern waters down beer ‘Swissness’ criteria

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Malcolm Curtis - [email protected]
Bern waters down beer ‘Swissness’ criteria
Photo: Schweizer Brauerei-Verband

The federal government is watering down proposed regulations over beers that can legally be called Swiss.


The federal department of agriculture on Tuesday said it was amending changes to planned “Swissness” criteria for food and drink set to take effect in 2017.

The changes call for a minimum 80 percent of ingredients for food to be sourced in Switzerland in order for a product to be declared Swiss.

But the draft legislation posed a problem for brewers because it proposed excluding water from the calculation.

This made sense for food but not for beer, brewers argued when the regulations were put out for consultation last year.

A beer produced with Swiss water but using foreign hops, barley or malt would no longer be called Swiss even if it was brewed in the country.

The agriculture department has responded with changes that will take into consideration Swiss water when it is a key ingredient in a drink, as is the case with beer.

The Swissness rules will be adopted in the autumn to take effect in two years’ time.

The development emerges just ahead of the annual “Swiss beer day”, set for April 24th.

The Swiss Brewers’ Association is planning events for the day to promote “the beer culture and brewing tradition”, including a soiree in Zurich where the “order of the beer” will be conferred on a well-known Swiss personality.



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