I have to admit it: When I first heard the phrase “British Fizz,” the first thing that came to mind was that Alka-Seltzer must be undertaking a brand extension in England.
Remember that antacid product’s iconic theme song? If not, you can view it here:
“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is…”
Well, it turns out British Fizz has nothing to do with settling one’s stomach. It’s the name that the United Kingdom Vineyard Association is seeking to register for protected geographical indication (PGI) status — similar to the status that Champagne enjoys in France and that Prosecco possesses in Italy.
Interestingly, the U.K. association did not come up with the name. It’s believed that it first appeared on the menu of a New York bar. Two members of the U.K. association, Bob and Sam Lindo, spotted the name and jotted it down.
If you’ve ever seen Parliament in action, you know that the Brits love to debate, and so it is with this proposed umbrella phrase for sparkling wine made in the U.K.
Some think it sounds trendy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in an industry that would like to see its demographics skew a bit younger. Others suggest it sounds too much like “British Wine,” a cheap concoction made from reconstituted grape must that’s imported — and really couldn’t be considered wine at all.
I’ve had a few renditions of sparkling wine made in Britain, and it’s pretty good. Whether it really needs to be rebranded as “British Fizz” is a marketing question that only those who make the wine can decide — and in Britain, that’s a debate that likely won’t be settled anytime soon.
Meanwhile, I’ll be perfectly content to enjoy the bubbly personalities of the Champagnes of France and the Proseccos of Italy.