The manufacture, importation, and primary sale of alcohol in Switzerland is a monopoly of the Federal Government. Farmers are permitted to distil small quantities of spirit from wine, fruits, etc., grown on their own lands; but with this exception all the distilleries work under the supervision of the Federal Alcohol Department, and all the alcohol produced is taken over by the Administration at prices agreed upon.

The Alcohol Department is authorised to sell denatured spirit in quantities of not less than 150 litres at cost price for the following purposes: -

(a). For cleansing, heating, cooking, lighting, and use in motor engines.

(b). For industrial purposes generally, except the preparation of beverages, liquid perfumes, and cosmetics.

(c). For making vinegar.

(d). For scientific purposes.

(e). For preparing pharmaceutical products which do not contain alcohol in their finished condition, and are not mixed with alcohol when used.

The denaturing is either " absolute " - that is, such as is deemed sufficient to render the alcohol unpotable, or it is "relative" - that is, such as requires official supervision to prevent the spirit being used for other purposes than those for which it is allowed.

The 'absolutely' denatured spirit is used for the purposes indicated at (a) above, and for sale by retail. Its composition is not invariable, the denaturing mixture being purposely changed two or three times a year. As an example, the following is the composition of a mixture which has been used: - Acetone oil 70 parts, pyridine bases 10, solvent naphtha 9, crude wood naphtha 11 parts. Of this mixture, 2.7 kilos. were added to every 100 kilos. of alcohol at 95°.

'Relatively" denatured spirit is allowed to be used for all manufacturing purposes. The following substances have been sanctioned: -

(a). For making vinegar. - To 100 litres of alcohol, 5 litres of absolute acetic acid dissolved in at least 200 litres of water, beer, wine, yeast pressings, etc.

(b). For lacquers, varnishes, and polishes. - To 100 litres of alcohol, either 2 litres of wood spirit and 2 litres of benzine; or 05 litre of turpentine; or 5 litres of wood spirit; or 2 kilos. of shellac; or 2 kilos. of copal or resin; or 05 kilo. of camphor.

(c). For preparing dye substances. - To 100 litres of alcohol, 10 litres of ether;


1 litre of benzene;


1 ,, coal tar oil;


0.5 ,, turpentine:


25 grams of animal oil;


25 „ aniline blue, eosin, violet, or fluorescein;


100 ,, naphthalene;


2 kilos, of commercially pure methyl alcohol;


0.5 kilo. of camphor.

To use other denaturants for other purposes special permission has to be obtained. The "relatively" denatured spirit must not be sold by the user, though if further denatured with wood naphtha (5 litres per hectolitre), or with acetone oils (3 litres), or with shellac (2 kilos.), it may be disposed of for use only in the purchasers' own workshops, not for re-sale.