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CRT and Heineken continue fight for use of Tequila

By Dumont - 25/02/2021

In March 2020, the European Union presented the Mexican government with a certificate of protected geographical indication (GI) status for Tequila. According to Mexico’s Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), Dutch beer giant Heineken is infringing such protection by continuing to commercialize in the European Union a beer which unauthorizedly uses the word Tequila.

Desperados is the brand of the beer produced by Heineken and promoted by the company as “the world's first Tequila Flavoured Beer, a distinctive combination of full bodied lager with a boost of Tequila flavour that's been shaking up the traditional beer market since day one.”

On 7 February 2020, the CRT announced it would no longer grant export certificates to Tequilas del Señor, a Mexican company producing and exporting tequila to France Boissons, an affiliate of Heineken, claiming such tequila is used to produce Desperados. The complainant submits that the grounds for refusal is the claim from CRT that Heineken’s beer violates the Mexican technical standard applicable to the use of the geographical indication Tequila. The CRT argued it had reliable evidence demonstrating tequila adulteration to modify the alcohol into a flavor, and therefore it could not provide a certificate of authenticity for the exports of Tequilas del Señor.

CRT is an association representing the interests of Mexico’s tequila producers which has been attributed certain powers by the Mexican Government, including a mandate from the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) to enforce the GI Tequila against fraud and abuse around the world. CRT is also tasked with the granting of export certificates to tequila producers after ensuring that each shipment of tequila has been produced according to the related technical specifications.

In response to the CRT decision, in June 2020 the European Commission received a complaint by Heineken -through the Association of Brewers of Europe- regarding an obstacle to the import into the European Union of tequila from Mexico. The European Commission is now conducting an investigation to examine the complaint. Interested parties may submit information in writing on specific issues raised by the complaint or provide supporting evidence. 

By Dumont - 25/02/2021
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