Liviko takes ministry to court over vodka geographic indication ({{commentsTotal}})

Janek Kalvi
Janek Kalvi Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

AS Liviko, one of Estonia's largest distilleries, has asked the courts to stop an Agriculture Ministry request to the European Commission to register the geographic indication for Estonian vodka.

The company, which roduces such brands as Viru Valge, said the request breaches Liviko's trademarked slogans such as “Estonian Vodka” and “Viru Valge Estonian Vodka.”

The requests seeks protection for the label “Estonian Vodka,” which, if the request is approved, could only be used on products produced from Estonian-grown raw products. Liviko's vodkas would not be able to use the slogan as they are produced from ethanol manufactured in Latvia. Liiviko said no Estonian ethanol manufacturer is able to provide such stable quality ethanol.

“I doubt expropriation is necessary for valuing Estonian traditional vodka production, as is the aim stated in the request for an geographic indicator,” Janek Kalvi, Liviko's CEO said.

Liviko said only one Estonian producer, Estonian Spirit OÜ, meets all requirements in the ministry's request, and would give the company a monopoly in producing the required ethanol for vodka.

Liviko and other vodka producers have said the traditional production process is more important than the origin of raw materials.

Editor: J.M. Laats