The concept of Designation of Origin refers to the use of certain terms, usually the names of places, cities or regions, to designate a product that is highly valued by consumers because of its origin, quality and particular method of preparation.
In our case, the cider produced in Asturias following certain traditional processes and complying with specific conditions is legally protected by the “Sidra de Asturias” Designation of Origin.
Not all cider made in the region is protected under this designation: if the apples do not come from Asturias or the varieties, methods used or the types of products obtained do not conform to the provisions set out in the specification, these ciders will not qualify for the Designation of Origin. Therefore, three elements must coincide for products to be granted a Designation of Origin: its origin, the production process, and the quality.
The set of rules governing a Designation of Origin is set out in the Specification, a public document with all the details on the demarcation of the production area, the approved varieties and cultivation practices, as well as the basics of cider making.
The functions performed by the Regulatory Council can be summarised into three key areas:
The apple growing and cider production area covered by the Sidra de Asturias PDO corresponds to all the municipalities of the Principality of Asturias. Apple tree plantations and cider mills can be found in various areas throughout the protected region, encompassing the entire territory. The area dedicated to growing cider apples registered with the Regulatory Council totals 948 hectares, corresponding to 776 plantations belonging to 352 producers.
Two of the functions of any Regulatory Council are to control the quality and guarantee the origin of the protected products. For this reason, the Sidra de Asturias PDO Specification provides for a series of rules that must be complied with throughout the production chain that begins in the apple tree plantations and ends when our cider is acquired by the consumer.
To guarantee the origin and quality of the product, the Regulatory Council carries out various checks:
Only after these comprehensive checks is it possible to guarantee the origin attested by the Regulatory Council. Thus, every bottle of Sidra de Asturias must bear a seal with the logo of the Council and a unique bottle number.
The Regulatory Council, as an entity dependent on the Regional Ministry of Rural Development, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Principality of Asturias, defends the public interest and equality of Asturian society and the market of our land. Domestic and international law obliges us to protect the rights of the community as a whole over the private and biased interests of the sector. It is the inescapable duty of this Regulatory Council to preserve fair competition among the cider makers and ensure they keep within the law to ensure equal trade rules for all.
The Regulatory Council has been fulfilling its obligation: the protection of general rights, which is the essence of an agency dependent on the Public Administrations, which by its very nature must be at the service of all citizens. The effort put into this project by all Asturians cannot be subordinated to particular economic interests but must be a social legacy that we can pass on to future generations.
In recent years, there have been many instances when we have had to defend the interests of our product before the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office against attempts by private companies to register trademarks that are exclusive to the Sidra de Asturias PDO on the basis of Law 17/2001, of 7 December. The Regulatory Council of the Sidra de Asturias PDO prevailed in all these cases.