Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rutland Bitter is a food name protected by the European Union

Thanks to Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrat shadow minister for exiting the European Union, for pointing out to me that Rutland Bitter is a protected food name under the EU.

The British government page on the protected food name scheme lays out the protections it provides:
The EU protected food name scheme highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed.
Under this system, a named food or drink registered at a European level, will be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.
And you can read the full product specification for Rutland Bitter there too:
Alcoholic Beverage brown/amber in colour around 3.4% alcohol by volume. Predominantly bitter in taste with some sweetness, fruity and hoppy aroma.
That specification was written to protect Ruddles, Once a rare brew even around these parts, it enjoyed a vogue in the 1980s and was to be found in many London pubs when I worked down there.

The purists felt they had sold out and that process is now complete. The Ruddles brewery at Langham in Rutland was closed back in 1997, razed and the land sold for housing. The Ruddles you buy today is brewed by Greene King in Suffolk.

But you can still enjoy a Rutland Bitter. It is brewed next to Oakham station by the excellent Grainstore Brewery. Take a close look at the image here and you will see the logo for the EU scheme.

Local intelligence, incidentally, has it that if you want to enjoy Ruddles County like it used to be, ask for Grainstore's Ten Fifty.

The question, of course, is what will happen to this protection if we leave the European Union. I suspect that is one of a thousand and one things the Brexiteers have never thought about.

1 comment:

wolfi said...

A bit OT:
3.4% alcohol sounds rather low to me - German and Hungarian beers typically have or used to have 5% - some people here a whing that breweries "weakened" their beers to 4 or 4.5% ...
Though I also read somewhere that Guinness is down to less than 4% too ...