The European Commission approved earlier in the week the geographical indication (GI) for ouzo and tsipouro, making the famous alcoholic beverages officially Greek for the first time ever.
A GI is a logo used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
In order to function as a GI, a logo must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of its origin.
Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.
The decision by the Commission opens the door for ouzo and tsipouro to be included in the international register of the Geneva Act of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The Association of Greek Producers of Spirits and Alcoholic Beverages (SEAOP) said that the recognition of GI by the Commission “will make ouzo and tsipouro even stronger in international markets.
“They will be able to enjoy protection in the parties in Lisbon International Agreement, just as they are protected in the EU. They gain a significant bargaining chip in EU talks with third countries for bilateral recognition of GIs,” the statement reads.
Ouzo: the spirit of Greek Summer
The anise-flavored drink Ouzo is deeply connected with the nation of Greece. It is simply the spirit of Greek summer which no one can copy.
It’s probably the most social drink ever distilled. Those who share this particular flavor, come closer, and speak more easily. Ouzo is the drink of companionship — and confession.
Ouzo drinking is an art. Or maybe it’s a way of life, says Matt Barrett, an American who writes about Greece. But it’s not the ouzo, it’s who you drink it with that really makes the experience, he adds.
When Greeks say “Let’s go for a little ouzo,” this is not only an important social invitation but also a culinary pleasure that is rarely turned down.
Some locations with a long tradition of distilling ouzo are Tirnavos and Kalamata. But the most popular of all is definitely the island of Lesvos, with the ouzo from Plomari being the best example.
Volos the capital city of tsipouro
Tsipouro, like Ouzo, is a strong Greek spirit made up of 40-45% alcohol. Born out of the poverty and ingenuity of rural Greeks, tsipouro is made from pomace — the stems, seeds, and skins of grapes that are left over from the winemaking process.
Tsipouro comes in two varieties — either flavored with anise, like ouzo, or plain.
Nestled between the stunning slopes of Mount Pelio and the Pagasetic Gulf in the Aegean sea, Volos is a picturesque city known for its local restaurants that also serve tsipouro.
These establishments are called tsipouradika, and they serve up top-quality Greek tsipouro accompanied by gourmet plates.
In the small city of just under 150,000 people, there are nearly 600 of these iconic tsipouradika!