If it contains Swiss water, it should be Swiss beer

A variety of beers produced by breweries in Switzerland believe they deserve the label "Made in Switzerland" Keystone

A beer made with Swiss water should be considered a Swiss beer, the Swiss cabinet has decided. The cabinet is prepared to make changes to proposed legislation defining Swissness, the Federal Office for Agriculture announced on Tuesday.

This content was published on April 7, 2015 - 19:18 and agencies

A beverage is entitled to bear the Swiss cross on its label if the Swiss water it contains is an “essential determining factor”. This is the case for certain natural and flavoured waters and for beer, but not for drinks based on fruit concentrate, the government found.

According to ground rules for the protection of the trademark “Made in Switzerland”, discussed at length in parliament in the summer of 2013, at least 80% of the raw materials in a food product must come from Switzerland in order for a product to considered “Swiss”.  

The proposed legislation originally did not consider water content as a determinant, except in the case of mineral water and spring water.

Beer brewers were critical, however. Because up to 90% of beer is water, and hops and malt do not originate in Switzerland, this would have meant that there are no Swiss beers.

The cabinet announced its change in response to a question from parliament.

According to the Federal Office for Agriculture, the cabinet intends to adopt the Swissness legislation in the autumn, following consultation with the legal commissions of the Senate and House of Representatives.

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