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Rules for Rum in South Africa

Over the last 3 days I have had 4 people tell me that there are no rules for Rum in South Africa, that we have a free for all in the manufacture of Rum.

These statements cannot be further from the truth ! Just over a year ago I posted an article stating the wording from the LIQUOR PRODUCTS ACT 60 OF 1989 as amended until 2015.

Part 1 deals with the PRODUCTION and COMPOSITIONAL REQUIREMENTS and quoted hereunder;

  1. Requirements for rum [7 (1) (b); 27 (1) (a)]

(1) Rum shall –

(a) be produced by the distillation of –

(i) fermented sugar cane juice;

(ii) fermented, undiluted sugar cane molasses, or fermented sugar cane molasses, which has been diluted with water; or

(iii) fermented, undiluted sugar cane syrup, which has been produced in the manufacturing of cane sugar, or fermented, with water diluted, sugar cane syrup, which has been produced in the manufacturing of cane sugar,

at less than 96 per cent alcohol per volume, irrespective of whether sugar cane leaves or fruit have been added thereto;

 

[Para. (a) substituted by GN R555/2009] (b) have the distinctive taste and aroma which is characteristic of rum and which is clearly distinguishable from that of cane spirit or another class of spirit; and

 

[Para. (b) substituted by GN R77/2006]

(c) have an alcohol content of at least 43 percent.

 

(2) The volatile constituents in rum shall be at least 30 gram per hectolitre absolute alcohol.

[Subreg. (2) substituted by GN R77/2006]

 

(3) The volatile constituents other than water, of rum shall be derived solely from sugar cane.

[Reg. 19 substituted by GN R1695/95]

 

Concerning the use of sugar, the following will apply;

  1. Control over the receipt, keeping and use of certain substances [27 (1) (b)]

(1) No person shall receive, keep or use any sugar, excluding a product of the vine, or a preparation or compound of such sugar, at premises where a liquor product is produced, except under the following circumstances and subject to the following conditions:

(a) A separate room or store shall be available at that premises for the keeping of such sugar, preparation or compound.

(b) Such sugar, preparation or compound shall immediately after the receipt thereof at that premises be placed in the room or store referred to in paragraph (a).

 

(c) Such room or store shall be locked or secured at all times in order that access thereto can only be obtained by or through –

(i) the person in charge of the production of liquor products at the premises concerned; or

(ii) a person placed in charge of that room or store by the person referred to in subparagraph (i).

 

(d) Such sugar, preparation or compound shall only be removed, from that room or store for the purposes of the addition thereof to a liquor product in accordance with the provisions of these regulations.

Table 6 of the Act stipulates what substances may be added to the Rum (Spirits) produced and I quote only on the sugar and wood additives as Herbs and flavourings are only allowed in “spirit based liquor” i.e Spirit Aperitif

TABLE 6

 

SUBSTANCES WHICH MAY BE ADDED TO LIQUOR PRODUCTS

Sugar of vegetable origin Sparkling wines which undergo a second fermentation; alcoholic fruit beverage (excluding fortified apple and pear beverage); spirits; grape-based liquor (excluding grape liquor and flavoured grape liquor); spirit-based liquor This substance shall –

(a) in the case of sparkling wines, only be added for the initiation of the second alcoholic fermentation and to sweeten the final product;

(b) in the case of an alcoholic fruit beverage-

(i) be added before alcoholic fermentation only to such an extent that not more than 20 per cent of the fermentable sugars are derived therefrom;

(ii) otherwise, only be added after completion or termination of alcoholic fermentation to sweeten the final product and to a maximum of 100 g/l, calculated as reducing sugar;

(c) in the case of husk spirit, premium husk spirit, pot still brandy, brandy and vintage brandy, only be added to such an extent that the sugar content of the final product, calculated as reducing sugar, does not exceed 15 g/l;

(d) in the case of other spirits (excluding gin), only be added to such an extent that the sugar content of the final product, calculated as reducing sugar, does not exceed 1 g/l; and

(e) in the case of a grape-based liquor or a spirit-based liquor, only be added to sweeten the final product.

 

Wood Wine; spirits (excluding grape spirit, cane spirit, gin, vodka, unspecified spirit and mixed spirit);spirit-based liquor; alcoholic apple and pear beverage

 

In short the definition for Rum is a spirit distilled at less than 96 percent and bottled at a minimum of 43%.

The only material that may be used is fermented sugar cane juice; fermented, undiluted sugar cane molasses, or fermented sugar cane molasses which has been diluted with water; or fermented, undiluted sugar cane syrup, which has been produced in the manufacturing of cane sugar, or fermented, with water diluted sugar cane syrup, which has been produced in the manufacturing of cane sugar. That’s it !

The only additives that may be used is sugar to sweeten the final product to a maximum of 1g/L and wood.

There is no aging requirement in the Act at all.

So the bottom line is that there are definite rules in South Africa for the manufacture of Rum. We may not all obey those rules but we do so at our own peril. The DAFF inspectorate is quite good at checking out the products manufactured – as are our Excise Inspectors.

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