Opal Nera returns as sambuca after ABV raised

Opal Nera sambucaOpal Nera is being relaunched as a sambuca after EU rulings meant that the black liqueur’s alcoholic content was too low to be part of the category.

Producer Fratelli Francoli has raised the ABV from 30% to 38% which means it can now be called a sambuca again instead of a sambuca-flavoured premium liqueur.

After the ABV of Opal Nera was lowered in 2011, other producers highlighted EU regulations that stipulated that an authentic sambuca must have an ABV of 38% to 40%.

Opal Nera was created by Italian distiller Alessandro Francoli more than 25 years ago as the world’s first black sambuca and has since become a leading international brand. Opal Nera uniquely uses elderberries for both its flavour and colour.

Instil Drinks Co, which started to distribute Opal in the UK last year, also offers the clear Opal Sambuca which already had ABV of 38%.

Nick Rodgers, head of Instil Drinks Co, said: “Opal Nera has a strong brand identity but has been in a bit of an odd space since the ABV was lowered in 2011, which has left many customers confused.

“Often when they wanted to celebrate a high-energy occasion with a sambuca, they were refused their preferred first choice of Opal.”

Based on the legend of the black opal, the special blend of natural botanicals in Opal Nera include elderflowers, elderberries, Sicilian lemons, orange flowers and liquorice, individually infused and blended with natural star and green anise.

Stuart Frampton, owner and operator of The Old Bridge Hotel & Wine Shop in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, has been a stockist of Opal Nera for over 15 years. “I first came across Opal Nera working in bars in Australia and Canada. There are other cheaper brands on the market but my customers prefer the quality and flavour of Opal. The Old Bridge is a 24-room hotel with a flourishing bar and restaurant and I would not choose to stock any other brand of sambuca.”

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