New EU regulations concerning gin, vodka and whisky have been welcomed by the UK industry.

At a European Parliament vote on EU Spirit Drink Regulation, MEPs rejected tighter regulations on vodka labelling, which would have prevented spirits made from anything other than potatoes or grain being labelled as vodka.

Instead a looser definition was agreed upon, although vodka made from materials such as sugar beet or grapes will have to state it on the label.

There was no stipulation as to the minimum size of the statement.

"The vote to accept a compromise ­package is as good a result as we could have expected in the circumstances," said Edwin Atkinson of the Gin & Vodka Association.

MEPs also voted on a tighter definition for London Gin, which can be produced anywhere but must now be made to a more specific production method.

The Scotch Whisky Association also welcomed the outcome of the vote, which included a clearer legal definition for whisky and a new law that prohibits the use of flavours and sweeteners in the spirit.

"This outcome is a significant step forward," said a spokesman.