Vodka Can Finally Have a ‘Distinctive Character’, as Nemiroff Does, Thanks to the U.S. Regulations Change

7 minutes

Alcohol is traditionally neutral in taste, color, and smell – but it is alcohol, not a vodka. In the United States in 2020, this was finally understood and the definition of this spirit was changed at the state level – reports Food and Wine in its article.

This is once again a confirmation that vodka has its special taste, as Nemiroff states on its products.

Can vodka be without any character?

Vodka is sold by many brands all over the world. It has long had a contradictory sales pitch: Brands all promise that their vodka is the best and tastes different, but according to the official government definition for the spirit, vodka was “to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” So does that mean that the best vodkas have the least character, aroma, taste, and color? And if so, what are consumers paying for?

Interest in craft vodka has grown, and the TTB has finally thought about these issues. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) also realized it may have been misrepresenting the neutral spirit. And as of spring 2020, vodka has been set free – with the TTB’s new, amended definition of vodka officially taking effect.

Obviously, vodka can have a taste and character.

Vodka has received a new definition in the United States

As a result, TTB released changes to the vodka definition.

The old definition of vodka was limited:

Vodka is neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.

The new definition contains several significant clarifications:

Vodka is neutral spirits which may be treated with up to two grams per liter of sugar and up to one gram per liter of citric acid

Products to be labeled as vodka may not be aged or stored in wood barrels at any time except when stored in paraffin-lined wood barrels and labeled as bottled in bond

Vodka treated and filtered with not less than one ounce of activated carbon or activated charcoal per 100 wine gallons of spirits may be labeled as ‘charcoal filtered

Almost all producers supported the change in the definition of vodka

Note that TTB received comments from vodka producers on whether to keep the clause on lack of distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color. 10 out of 12 comments were negative. Therefore, of course, the inappropriate item was removed.

The TTB agreed that the requirement “vodka has no distinctive character, aroma, taste or color” no longer depicts consumer expectations and should be canceled.

But don’t expect major changes in the vodka itself. The change in the definition of vodka only confirms what all the producers and fans of the drink already knew: vodka can taste and has the right to it.