Absinthe ban lifted

Location: Europe, France

The French law prohibiting the sale of products bearing the name absinthe is set to be lifted.

The French senate had passed the first stage of repeal in October last year, which was then subject to a vote by the assemblée Nationale before returning to the senate for final approval. The law does not concern the production of drinks that use wormwood (as this is already governed by EU law), but rather the sale of products using the name ‘absinthe’. The repeal was motivated, in part, by Switzerland’s intention to gain a geographic protected indication for absinthe, which would leave French producers at a disadvantage.

La Fée and the Musee De L’Absinthe presented evidence to the French Federation of Spirit Producers last year to support the case for legalising absinthe in France. La Fée’s founder, George Rowley, commented on the repeal: ‘We are delighted to see France embracing the absinthe category again. We were first to distil in France, exporting initially to the UK, and continue to drive the renaissance of this fine spirit around the world.’

The repeal is likely to be passed into law in mid-May. Until then, Rowley explains, absinthe will continue to be sold in France as ‘spiritueux aux plantes d’absinthe’.

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