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Dont Call That Vodka

Written by Ben Evans on 21 January 2010

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Vodka is now protected by law.

Just like champagne, whisky and sherry vodka now has to be vodka. The case was between Diageo who make 'Smirnoff' (which is vodka) and Intercontinental Brands who make a vodka based spirit named 'Vodkat'.

Diageo argued that Vodkat was being passed off as vodka. They used evidence from retailers who categorise Vodkat as vodka and the evidence of consumers who believe Vodkat to be vodka. The defendants argued that vodka was not a sufficiently defined category of product however the judge ruled in favour of Diageo: “vodka was generally perceived by consumers to be a clear, tasteless, distilled high strength spirit...an important aspect of the reputation of vodka [is that] it can alcoholically enhance any chosen mixer without detracting from the taste of the mixer...the term ‘vodka’ does have a reputation giving rise to a protectable goodwill”.

We await further details about this case but it will make drinks manufacturers take note, a number of manufacturers use look-alike bottles to make their low(er) alcohol drinks look like they are in fact vodka, from this ruling such activities will have to stop.

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