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Press releases

11 March 2019

Common sense prevails over tonic water in Europe

British drinkers will be relieved to know that a key element of the nation’s favourite tipple has emerged unscathed from a lengthy period of negotiation with the European Union (EU).

While most of us simply know Tonic Water as the essential accompaniment to Gin, the mixer risked falling foul of EU rules designed to prevent food and drink products from implying they have any beneficial effect on health.

The rules threatened to force manufacturers to stop using the term Tonic Water in marketing their product across Europe.

In a bid to let common sense prevail, the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) submitted evidence in May 2014 for Tonic Water to be recognised as a generic descriptor.

Generic descriptors are terms that are used to designate a certain class of foods which could imply an effect on health, but which traditionally have not been used to indicate a health effect, and which are not understood by consumers in such a manner.

To prove its case the BSDA was obliged to compile evidence from countries across the EU to show that Tonic Water is a traditional product that has been marketed and sold throughout the continent for more than 20 years.

With just days to go before Britain leaves the EU, officials in Brussels have now ruled that Tonic Water can continue to be sold across Europe under its traditional name.

BSDA Director-General Gavin Partington said: “Whatever happens with Brexit, at least we can relax in the knowledge that the future of the quintessentially British Gin and Tonic is secured!”