Legislation of Cachaça

Alan Kutassy
8 min readMar 28, 2022

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Legal framework of the National Brazilian Spirit

Cachaça HUB with a dedicated shelf only for Cachaças Aged, Premium, Extra-premium — Luxembourg

Going Brazilian — Cachaca Regulations Demystified — Cocktail Wonk

Cachaça has an old story with literature since1530, although it was only recently that Brazil had to pass a law covering it to have Cachaça recognized as Brazilian IG in order to sign bilateral commercial agreements. As I was browsing the internet, I found this article mentioned above, and perhaps the best among several I have found, therefore I will not recreate the wheel but instead just highlight some aspects of the legislation I believe it can give readers a better and clearer understanding about what it is Cachaça.

Please find the law translated, extracted from that article:

TECHNICAL REGULATIONS FOR FIXING THE IDENTITY AND

QUALITY FOR AGUARDENTE DE CANA AND PARA CACHAÇA

  1. SCOPE

1.1. Goal

Establish the identity and quality characteristics to which apply to Aguardente de Cana and Cachaça.

1.2. Scope of application

This Technical Regulation applies to Aguardente de Cana and Cachaça which are marketed throughout the country and also destined for export.

  1. DESCRIPTION

2.1. Definition

2.1.2. Cachaça is the native and exclusive denomination of cane spirit produced in Brazil, with an alcoholic strength of 38% ABV to 48% ABV at 20ºC, obtained by the distillation of the fermented must of the sugarcane juice, with peculiar sensorial characteristics. Added sugars up to 6 grams/liter of sucrose are allowed.

2.2. Naming

2.2.2. Cachaça:

Is the beverage defined in item 2.1.2.

2.2.4. Cachaça Adoçada (sweetened):

Is the beverage defined in item 2.1.2 and which contains sugars in quantity more than 6 grams/liter and less than 30 grams per liter, expressed as sucrose.

2.2.7. Cachaça Envelhecida (Aged Cachaça):

Is the drink defined in item 2.1.2 and which contains at least 50% of Cachaça or Aguardente de Cana aged in wooden containers with a maximum capacity of 700 liters, for a period not less than one year.

2.2.9. Cachaça Premium:

Is the beverage defined in item 2.1.2 which contains 100% of Cachaça aged in a suitable wooden container, with a maximum capacity of 700 liters, for a period of not less than one year.

2.2.11. Cachaça Extra Premium:

Is the beverage defined in item 2.2.9 aged for a period of not less than three years.

2.3. From Control

2.3.1. Additions (“correction”), in view of the standard aged alcoholic beverages listed in items 2.2.8, 2.2.9, 2.2.10 and 2.2.11, as set out in this Technical Regulation, may only be performed by addition of Simple Alcoholic Sugar Cane Distillate or Aguardente de Cana or Aged Cachaça, aged for the same period or potable water.

  1. CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND QUALITY REQUIREMENTS

3.1. Congener measurements

3.1.1. The Congener measurements (non-alcoholic volatile, or non-alcoholic volatile substances or non-alcoholic secondary components, or non-alcoholic volatile impurities) is the sum of:

  • Volatile acidity (acetic acid)
  • Aldehydes (acetaldehyde)
  • Total esters (ethyl acetate)
  • Higher alcohols (the sum of n-propyl alcohol, isobutyl alcohol and isoamyl alcohols)
  • Furfural + hydroxymethylfurfural.

3.1.2. The Congener measurements for the products provided in sub-item 2.2 of this Technical Regulation shall not be less than 200 milligrams per 100ml (aka g/hL AA) and may not exceed 650 milligrams per 100 ml (aka g/hL AA) of anhydrous alcohol.

3.1.3. The components of the Congener measurements for the products described in sub-item 2.2 of this Technical Regulation should observe the following limits:

Note (all values are in mg/100 ml anhydrous alcohol, or equivalently, g/hL AA)

MaximumMinimumAcidity volatile (acetic acid)150–Total esters (ethyl acetate)200–Total aldehydes (acetaldehyde)30–Sum of Furfural and Hydroxymethylfurfural5–Sum of isobutyl alcohols (2-methyl propanol), isoamylic (2-methyl-1–360- butanol + 3-methyl-1-butanol) and n-propyl (1-propanol

360–

3.1.4. The presence of total phenolic compounds in Aguardentes de Cana and aged cachaças should be:

3.2. Basic Ingredients

3.2.2. For the cachaça:
Fermented grape must obtained from sugarcane juice.

3.2.3. For Simple Alcoholic Sugar Cane Distillate:
Fermented grape must obtained from sugarcane juice.

3.2.4. Sugar in Sweetened Aguardente de Cana and Sweetened Cachaça.

3.3. Optional Ingredients:

3.3.1. Water
Must comply with the norms and standards approved in regulations for drinking water, and used exclusively for standardizing the alcoholic strength of the final product (aka “proofing”).

3.3.2. Sugar / sucrose, which may be replaced partially or completely by inverted sugar, glucose or reduced or oxidized derivatives thereof, up to a maximum of 6 grams/liter for Aguardente de Cana and Cachaça and less than 30 grams of sucrose in sweetened Aguardente de Cana and sweetened Cachaça.

  1. ADDITIVES, MANUFACTURING COMPONENTS, OTHER SUBSTANCES AND CONTAINERS.

4.1. Additions:

4.1.1. In accordance with regulations.

4.1.2. Caramel only for the correction and / or standardization of the color of Aged Aguardente de Cana and Cachaça, provided for in the following items: 2.2.6, 2.2.7, 2.2.8, 2.2.9, 2.2.10 and 2.2.11.

4.2. Manufacturing Associates.

4.2.1. In accordance with regulations

4.3. Other substances

4.3.1. It is forbidden to use dyes of any kind, extract, splinters or other materials for correction or modification of the original coloration of the product stored or aged or subjected to these processes, except as provided in sub-item 4.1.2, of this Technical Regulation

4.3.2. The addition of any substance or ingredient that changes the natural sensorial characteristics of the final product is prohibited, except in the cases provided for in this Technical Regulation.

4.4. Containers

4.4.1. A container which has been previously intended for the storage or aging of other beverages may be used, and using of containers used for other purposes is prohibited.

4.4.2. While not being used for aging spirits, potable water may be stored in the barrel to preserve it.

  1. CONTAMINANTS

5.1. Organic Pollutants:

5.1.1. Methyl alcohol in an amount not exceeding 20.0 mg / 100 ml of anhydrous alcohol.
5.1.2. Ethyl carbamate in an amount not exceeding 150μg / l (one hundred fifty micrograms per liter).
5.1.3. Acrolein (2-propenal) in an amount not exceeding 5mg / 100ml of anhydrous alcohol.
5.1.4. Sec-butyl alcohol (2-butanol) in an amount not exceeding 10mg / 100ml of anhydrous alcohol.
5.1.5. N-Butyl alcohol (1-butanol) in an amount not exceeding 3mg / 100ml of anhydrous alcohol.

5.2. Inorganic Contaminants:

5.2.1. Copper (Cu) in an amount not exceeding 5mg / liter
5.2.2. Lead (Pb) in an amount not exceeding 200μg / liter
5.2.3. Arsenic (As) in an amount not exceeding 100 μg / liter

  1. DISTILLATION

The distillation must be performed such that the product obtained preserves the aroma and taste of the main components contained in the raw material and formed during the fermentation.

6.1. It is forbidden to add any substance or ingredient after fermentation, or introduced into the distillation equipment which changes the characteristics of sensorial characteristics of the product.

  1. HYGIENE

Establishments producing or processing the drinks provided for in this Technical Regulation must comply with hygiene and sanitary standards approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

  1. WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

In accordance with specific legislation.

  1. LABELING

9.1. The norms established by the Regulation of the Law must be obeyed.

№8,918, of July 14, 1994, approved by Decree №2,314, of September 4 of 1997, and additional administrative acts.

9.2. Only the products listed in items 2.2.8,

2.2.9, 2.2.10 and 2.2.11, the age or the aging time of the Aguardente de Cana and of the Cachaça that are elaborated with 100% of Aguardente de Cana or Cachaça aged for a period of not less than one (1) year.

9.3. In the case of mixtures between the products provided for in items 2.2.8, 2.2.9, 2.2.10 and 2.2.11 of this Technical Regulation, the declaration of age on the label will use the description of the least aged product. In the case of mixtures of products with more than 3 years of aging, products 2.2.10 and 2.2.11, the declaration of age on the label may be applied from the weighted average of the ages of the products using individual volumes as a percentage of anhydrous alcohol. The results whose fractions are greater than 0.5 and equal to or less than 0.5 shall be rounded up to the next higher or lower whole number, respectively.

9.4. The name of the Federation Unit or of the region in question may be where the beverage was produced, when it consists of a geographical indication registered in the National Institute of Intellectual Property — INPI.

9.4.1. The insertion provided in item 9.4 shall be in a position lower than the name of the drink and in graphic characters with a size corresponding to the half of the size used for the denomination of the drink.

9.5. It is forbidden to use the expression “Handcrafted” as a designation, or qualification of the products provided for in this Technical Regulation, until by administrative act of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and The Technical Regulation establishing the criteria and procedures for production and marketing of Aguardente de Cana and artisanal cachaça.

9.6. The term “Special Reserve” may be declared on the label for the Cachaça and the Aguardente de Cana possessing sensorial characteristics, differentiated from normal products made by the applicant, provided that it is duly proven by the applicant. The awards should be issued by public or private laboratories recognized by the MAPA.

9.7. The control of the products mentioned in item 9.6 will be based on the certification of differentiated sensorial characteristics, among others, and in the volume in stock, the lots being duly identified by sequential numbering for each unit of the lot.

9.8. It shall be compulsory to declare on the label the expression:

…. (followed by the name of the recipient) of …. (followed by the name of the wood on which the product was stored) for the products defined in sub-items 2.1.1 and 2.1.2, stored in a wooden container and which do not meet the criteria defined for the aging provided for in this Technical Regulation and other own administrative acts.

9.8.1.

The term “silver” or “classic” or “traditional” may be associated with the mark for the products defined in items 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 and that are stored in wooden containers, and do not add color to the beverage.

9.8.2. The term gold may be associated with the products defined in items 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 which were stored in wooden containers and which had a substantial change in color.

9.9. For beverages referred to in the sub-items: 2.2.2, 2.2.4, 2.2.7, 2.2.9 and 2.2.11, expressions relating to its distillation process may be used, following:

9.9.1. Be inserted on the label in such a way that it does not characterize name of the drink.

9.9.2. Constituting an expression separate from the others on the label, including name and classification of the drink.

9.9.3. Display graphic character pattern with maximum dimension corresponding to one-half of the size used for the name of the product.

  1. METHODS OF ANALYSIS

These are those established in administrative acts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

  1. SAMPLING

The procedures for sampling are those defined in art. 117 and its paragraphs of the Regulations of Law №8,918 of July 14, 1994, approved by the Decree №2,314, dated September 4, 1997, and by administrative acts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

  1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Cases not covered here will be resolved by the Department of Product Inspection of Plant Origin of the Secretariat of Agricultural and Livestock Defense of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply.

  1. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

13.1 The maximum period of 1 (one) year is established for the adequacy of the labeling and packaging.

13.2 There is established the term of three years for the adequacy and control of contaminants mentioned in items 5.1.3, 5.1.4, 5.1.5, 5.2.2 and 5.2.3.

13.3 The deadline of five years is established for adequacy and control of the contaminant mentioned in item 5.1.2.

Amended by Normative Instruction nº 58 of 12/19/2007.
Amended by Normative Instruction №27 of May 15, 2008.

So I hope that gives you a better understanding of Cachaça by definition. The legislation is also following up the development of the sector vis a vis the demands of international legislation.

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Alan Kutassy

Entrepreneur, wine&spirits enthusiast, helping bartenders to find the ideal Brazilian Spirits for their mixology. Premium Cachaça Ambassador.