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Canadian Legislation - Spirit's Names


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Hi guys !

I'm a little bit confused about the canadian legislation in regard of the employment of terms to name spirits.

For example, the law says :

B.02.080. . Vodka shall be a potable alcoholic beverage obtained by the treatment of grain spirit or potato spirit with charcoal so as to render the product without distinctive character, aroma or taste.

But there's a few vodkas from fruits made by many craft distillers in Canada. I don't understand how this is possible.

Thoughts anybody ?

Thanks !


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There are a lot of Canadian Vodka's made from lots of things other then "grain spirit or potato spirit" We have beet sugar, apples, grapes and honey to name a few.

I would argue that I haven't met a distiller or tried a local product that isn't in contravention of some part of that law. When was the last time you poured a craft vodka and thought:

My, this delicious vodka sure is "without distinctive character, aroma or taste" exactly what I was looking for in a premium, hand made spirit!

and how many distillers proudly declare that they don't treat with charcoal?

To be clear, I am in no way excluding myself from this observation. My Unruly Vodka is made from honey, proudly unfiltered and full of unique and distinctive flavors and aromas. It just seams to me that in this climate of rapidly changing legislation and growth no one is really interested in challenging this particular law. Bigger fish and all that.

Anyway, not really an answer for you, just my two cents

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I'm glad to read this actually ! As a wannabe craft distiller myself, I was just wondering how these vodka could be on the market and what was the federal government reaction about it.

If in fact you can do it, it's perfect like that because let's say it clearly, the law is prohibitive and bad.

For me I think it's a little bit different. My project is located in Quebec and we must sell to the state-owned liqueur stores SAQ. I think it would be impossible to us to do what you're doing in other provinces where you can sell your spirits at your distillery.. We can't unfortunately ...

I don't know if I'm right but I heard a new craft distillery here in Quebec that is trying right now to sell a vodka made from apples and they have all sorts of trouble with labeling it as vodka ..

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