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New EU Legislation 2021 for adding sugar to rum.

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VikingXO avatar image
VikingXO 🇩🇰 | 169 ratings Posted 23 Jan '21

In (May) 2021 the new EU Legislation for adding sugar will change from 100 gram down to 20. This means that all brands with more than 20 gram sugar added is not allowed to name Rum on the bottle, but will ADD the name “spirit drink” instead. Some brands has always started changing the amount of adding sugar down to 20 gr (like El Dorado) where other brands like AH Riise has changed the name from Rum to “spirit drink” because they will not change their product. My own opinion is that reduce the amount of adding sugar is a good idea, because too much added sugar remove the “classic” rum profile (like with Bumbu rum, I get no rum profile at all) What do you think, good or bad Legislation?
Pirate avatar image
Pirate 🇬🇷 | 30 ratings Replied 23 Jan '21

That's far beyond good, that's simply great! Since few distilleries are honest, transparent, respect their products and their customers (like Foursquare or Appleton as a readily available example out of the top of my head), somebody has to protect, or at least inform the consumer (plus, defend the rich history and ominous legacy of Rum/"Killdevil" itself); no? YES, please! Besides, nobody bans anything, they can keep doing their stuff, only the name/label is going to be corrected! Thank you for the good news, YARR!!!
Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 324 ratings Replied 24 Jan '21

The new Regulation (EU) 2019/787 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirit drinks, etc, that replaces the old (EC) No 110/2008, was published April 17, 2019. This new EU regulation enters into force on May 25, 2021. What’s new is that it has now been decided how much sugar may be added, which wasn’t regulated before. In addition, I perceive that the writings are now much clearer regarding information on the label. There was already in the old regulation a writing about “spirit drink”, but it may not have been mandatory for the producers. It’s not always easy to read and understand legal texts especially when they aren’t written in one's own language, so I suggest that you who are interested google it and read yourself.
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 448 ratings Replied 24 Jan '21

This is a good thing, even though I cannot buy rums from the EU over here in the USA. Basically, all rums from the EU will soon basically fall into my three classifications, either dry, semi-dry, or white. All of the sweets, sugar bombs, and flavored will be labeled as spirit drinks. I wish that they would do this over here in the USA.
Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 324 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

I have now found the document in Swedish, which means that I understand the meaning better. I think it’s good as the purpose is to protect and help us consumers against less honest producers, that try to make us believe that the contents in the bottle is something else than there is. I also attach some of the most important paragraphs in the document. First Annex 1 para 1 that defines rum. “1. Rum (a) Rum is a spirit drink produced exclusively by the distillation of the product obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of molasses or syrup produced in the manufacture of cane sugar or of sugar-cane juice itself, distilled at less than 96 % vol., so that the distillate has the discernible specific organoleptic characteristics of rum. (b) The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of rum shall be 37,5 %. (c) No addition of alcohol, diluted or not, shall take place. (d) Rum shall not be flavoured. (e) Rum may only contain added caramel as a means of adjusting the colour. (f) Rum may be sweetened in order to round off the final taste. However, the final product may not contain more than 20 grams of sweetening products per litre, expressed as invert sugar. (g) In the case of geographical indications registered under this Regulation, the legal name of rum may be supplemented by: (i) the term ‘traditionnel’ or ‘tradicional’, provided that the rum in question: — has been produced by distillation at less than 90 % vol., after alcoholic fermentation of alcohol-producing materials originating exclusively from the place of production considered, and — has a volatile substances content equal to or exceeding 225 grams per hectolitre of 100 % vol. alcohol, and — is not sweetened; (ii) the term ‘agricultural’, provided that the rum in question complies with the requirements under point (i) and has been produced exclusively by distillation after alcoholic fermentation of sugar-cane juice. The term ‘agricultural’ may only be used in the case of a geographical indication of a French Overseas Department or the Autonomous Region of Madeira. This point shall be without prejudice to the use of the term ‘agricultural’, ‘traditionnel’ or ‘tradicional’ in connection with any product not covered by this category, in accordance with their own specific criteria.” Secondly Chapter 2, Article 10, Para 3 about labeling. “3. A spirit drink that does not comply with the requirements laid down for any of the categories of spirit drinks set out in Annex I shall use the legal name ‘spirit drink’.“ Thirdly Chapter 1, Article 1, Para 2 which states that this rules also applies on imported rum. “2. This Regulation applies to products ........... that are placed on the Union market, whether produced in the Union or in third countries, as well as to those produced in the Union for export.” Finally they say in the end of main document that it’s binding not mandatory so it will be interesting to follow up the result. “This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.”
kudzey avatar image
kudzey (PREMIUM) 🇵🇱 | 38 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

I found a bottle of Kraken in a shop today, there is no longer a word "rum" on the label. Is the situation getting real?
vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

The rum will become less sweet in the future, which also means that some off-notes can no longer be covered up when the producer wants to write Rum on the lable. I also noticed that Wagemut, for example, doesn't use the word rum on their label. I think thats because of the sweet PX finish (they use wet PX casks). But they say that they don't use any additives. This EU regulation is good for connoisseurs. But for sweet rum lovers it could be the other way around.
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 448 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

Stefan: So according to this new EU rule, the incredible Pusser's Gunpowder Proof could no longer be able to be labeled as a rum! The same goes for the even better Plantation OFTD! The USA will probably never see this ruling, so the rum companies will need to create different labels based upon their final destination. And here is why. The big three rum companies are on US territories, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, and Cruzan. Big money from these three will make sure that this EU law will never be adopted. However, if this were to be adopted in the USA, most of these beverages could no longer be labeled as rum because they are obsessed with the flavored market to make the lives of bartenders much easier.
Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 324 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

It will be very interesting to see how different producers tackle it. Some will eventually change their additives if they are close to 20g and others will change their labeling. Maybe some single producer chooses not to export to the EU, even if I don’t think so. And Paul, you’re probably right about that the majority will use different labeling depending on to were it’s exported. But in the end no one will be left without their favorite drink because in principle everything will remain, but with different labeling, except that maybe a few varieties will be a little less sweet in cases where producers decide to change their products.
vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

Which criteria does the OFTD not meet? https://www.plantationrum.com/oftd Did Pussers have problems with the added sugar? I think the new Pussers Guyana bottlings also meet the EU criteria. https://ruminations.blog/2016/11/08/rum-review-pussers-black-label-gunpowder-proof https://pussers.com/pussers-history/the-pussers-difference "By comparison, Pusser’s is all natural. No sugar or flavoring agents have been added. It is still the same Admiralty rum, the original Navy Rum, as it has been for more than 300 years."
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 448 ratings Replied 25 Jan '21

vomi1011: Read the details of the segments from the Swedish document posted by Stefan very carefully. It is not just one sentence, but deliberately vague. It is also open to interpretation, and I gathered that those two overproof rums fall under the new rules.
vomi1011 avatar image
vomi1011 🇩🇪 | 396 ratings Replied 26 Jan '21

I wouldn't dive too deep in the interpretation. OFTD uses the word "traditional" which should meet additional criteria, but there should be no problem with that. If Plantation OFTD is not allowed to use the word rum, then the regulation would have failed and we could only rely on our own judgment.
Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 324 ratings Replied 26 Jan '21

Just to clarify, I just read the document in Swedish, then I went back to the English version. So it’s the original text in English that I attached, I haven’t translated it from Swedish.
Earl Elliott avatar image
Earl Elliott 🇨🇦 | 213 ratings Replied 26 Jan '21

Damn, cancel culture has invaded the rum domain. Doesn't matter to me, I will still purchase rums based on taste and flavour, regardless of the sugar content. If they label it as a spirit drink then we know that it's got more than 20 GPL. This could be quite helpful.
Paul B avatar image
Paul B 🇺🇸 | 448 ratings Replied 27 Jan '21

Thanks to mujuru's mentioning that Plantation Rums' website now shows dosages of added sugar for their rums (going all the way back to 2018), I went digging through their detailed data to update my spreadsheet that I began about three years ago. Quite of few of those old long standing favorites now show less sugar than what I had shown before. Oddly enough, a favorite of many now shows 20 gpl of added sugar instead of 24 gpl that I had shown originally. This is only 1 gpl too much for the EU to call it a rum!!!! This is none other than Plantation XO 20th Anniversary. So will the dosage or the labels be changed when that time comes? This is downright ridiculous in my book! By the way, I am pleased to report that less than 27% of all that I have reviewed on here could no longer be called rums according to the new EU rule. I never needed a rule to tell me to back off on heavily sweetened rums. My body would tell me to back off the next day, along with them slowly degrading in the bottles.
bar la moura avatar image
bar la moura 🇭🇷 | 109 ratings Replied 7 Jun '22

thank you very much Stefan to show me this discussion

i m happy that things are changing (ok 20 grams is also too much for my taste)

now i m curious to see how many brands will not lower the sugar and change the rum name 

with spirit drink on the label, and also i m asking myself, will be the quantity of dosage 

visible on the label ? if so for me things will be 1000 times easier because i ll know

what to avoid when buying new products ! i call this transparency, this declaration of sugar 

presence in alcohol was always present on champagne and prosecco, dry, extra dry, brut is the less quantity

of sugar so where is the problem if this is extended to rum ? who like it very sweet will buy it with 

the name of spirit drink !

finally a good law from the EU !

i know that this high sugar dosage is also present in cognac and maybe in some whiskey too,

so for me is good if they extend this even to other spirits, consumers will know what they buy ...

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 324 ratings Replied 7 Jun '22

bar la moura,

This EU regulation handle all kind of spirits, but then you have to search for it on the web.

I have just read the parts about rum.

bar la moura avatar image
bar la moura 🇭🇷 | 109 ratings Replied 7 Jun '22

really have to do some research and by the way, stefan, you can call me francesco if you like, 

bar la moura is my profile ok but is so unpersonal ...

bar la moura avatar image
bar la moura 🇭🇷 | 109 ratings Replied 7 Jun '22

after reading this document i m a little bit deluded, i m interested in all kind of spirits, only whisky 

cant have sugar addiction almost all categories can have 20  grams per liter, grain spirit 10 grams,

fruit spirits 18 grams, cider spirits 15 grams, vodka 8 grams, but i didn t find if the quantity wil be well

visible on the label, for me it s important, i like to know what i m buying ! so i know what i sell 

to my customers ...

Stefan Persson avatar image
Stefan Persson (TASTING CLUB) 🇸🇪 | 324 ratings Replied 17 Jun '22


Unfortunately can we just dream of that the producers, especially those who produce Spanish styled rum, will be honest and write out everything on the label.

The only way to get to know about added sugar is to make hydrometer tests by oneself, cause many of the results on the web aren't valid anymore since the relatively new EU regulations.

bar la moura avatar image
bar la moura 🇭🇷 | 109 ratings Replied 17 Jun '22

hi Stefan

being in mexico (january this year) they are looking us like we are

a bag of cash, want just your to take your money, we was very deluded from the people,

also heard bad from friends returned from cuba or dominican republic ...,

we was in other places of the world too, but never never saw people like those latinos,

now if a producer start with the mentality that is important just cash (because this is in their DNA),

and not quality ... that s bad !

i don t think that add kilograms of sugar in a barrel is to get a quality product and i m sure

they know this too, but look how are rated such rums in this site, and if we look brands in percentage,

the most sugar added rums are from spanish style, english style less and maybe french style 

make the more honest rum (i talk in percentage, we can always find exceptions)

only way to improve spanish style rum is to put strict regulations about additives,

same for tequila and other spirits they produce, but than people who like sweetened products

will be sad if they find their preferred rum is now a real destillate and not a sort of liquor,

this world is really going crazy ...


Jagsroy avatar image
Jagsroy (PREMIUM) 🇨🇦 | 239 ratings Replied 18 Jun '22

Very interesting reading. I for one rarely enjoy rums that have been altered with added sugar and I always research and refrain from buying new products that contain additives. I respect those who prefer sweet rums and in my opinion labeling the true contents of rum on the label should not affect sales. Any product purchased commercially is obligated to list the contents on the label, why not rum?

Producers that are overcharging for inferior rums laced with sugar fear decline in their sales but if they stand behind their products and their customers are happy, they will continue to buy such products.

Labeling sugar content on Rums is the way to go!

bar la moura avatar image
bar la moura 🇭🇷 | 109 ratings Replied 18 Jun '22

and even than many drinkers will happily buy sweetened rum,

it s like when people buy toothpaste, how many looks if it contains fluoride ?

or when people buy dietetic soda who check if they contain aspartame ?

and than when someone get a cancer, the question is how it s possible ?

he/she was so young ...

but ok labeling sugar content on rum is also my wish !