Another beverage shipment has been destroyed by European Union customs agents in the name of protecting the esteemed “Champagne” designation.
French border agents recently destroyed a 35,000-bottle shipment of “Couronne Fruit Champagne” soda from Haiti, according to the BBC. Palates of the orange soft drink were originally confiscated in October 2021 after agents spotted the “Champagne” on the bottles’ labels. The beverages were intended for the consumer market in France, per border agents.
A French court ruled in October 2022 that the bottles should be destroyed to respect the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation. The Comité Champagne, a French trade organization that represents wine producers, leads advocacy efforts for AOC protection.
“This kind of use contributes to weakening the reputation of the appellation,” Comité Champagne managing director Charles Goemaere said in a recent statement, according to the BBC. “The fight against the abuse of the Champagne name started in 1844 and hasn’t stopped since.”
This isn’t the first time that the E.U. has shown it’s taking the designation seriously this year. In April, Belgian border authorities destroyed nearly 2,500 cans of Miller High Life. The American lager has long been branded as the “Champagne of Beers.”
“[The destruction of these bottles] confirms the importance that the European Union attaches to designations of origin and rewards the determination of the Champagne producers to protect their designation,” said Goemaere.