[BND] Your Breakfast Briefing

Good Morning, and Happy Tuesday, September 19, 2023. Or maybe not, as you see this mock-up label proposed by Ireland.

Ireland notified the World Trade Organization nearly a year ago of draft regulations on the labelling of alcoholic beverages, that would result in labels such as you see above, from Meiniger's International.

The Assembly of European Wine Regions (AREV) said it deplores Ireland's unilateral choice to legislate nationally the labeling of wine, assimilating its consumption to the harmful consumption of alcohol and without making a distinction regarding high-grade alcoholic beverages, with a label similar to tobacco.

Even more upsetting to AREV was that for at least six months through February, the European Commission has done nothing, even though the Irish action strikes at the heart of "the unity of Europe.  This tacit consent of the Commission gives the green light to Ireland to move towards a national regulation."

AREV isn't necessarily opposed to a warning label such as you see above.  It just doesn't want to be put in the same category as spirits or beer.  AREV noted that the European Parliament voted in favor of differentiating between moderate consumption and alcohol abuse in terms of "impact and danger to health. On this basis, a possible label warning about the danger of alcohol, without reference to the type of alcohol consumption, would be meaningless and would create a precedent against the representative democracy expressed by the European Parliament."      

AREV cited with approval the "Italian Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, stated, the measure is “not aimed at protecting health but at influencing the markets (…) by labelling wine ‘unhealthy’, they are directing consumption towards strong alcohols which are objectively more harmful”. And so there is a risk of misleading “The consumer” who will be “thus convinced that wine is as bad as whiskey"."  

As far as we can determine, this issue remains unresolved. But it needs to be viewed in a larger context.  After three decades, the anti-alcohol crowd is back, and you can safely bet that if Ireland's proposed label regime is not suppressed, it will spread to the EU and to the U.S.

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Thanks for reading.  See  you tomorrow. – Joel