Irish whiskey awarded EU Geographical Indication protection

Irish whiskey has been awarded Geographic Indication status by the EU after a protracted application process
Irish whiskey has been awarded Geographic Indication status by the EU after a protracted application process

The Irish Whiskey Association has welcomed the official announcement by the European Commission that Irish Whiskey’s status as a Geographical Indication (GI) has been approved.



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9 April 2019 | 0

Irish Whiskey has been awarded special status as a protected Geographical Indication (GI) by the EU, meaning that  any  product bearing that label must adhere to strict guidelines governing its blending, production, marketing and more.

Under a 2008 EU Spirit Regulation, Member States were required to submit to the European Commission a comprehensive technical file for each GI registered. These technical files outline the production methods, ingredients and links with the geographical area in question. The Irish whiskey industry worked with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to submit the Irish Whiskey technical file in 2014. The technical file defined the distinctive types of Irish whiskey, Malt Irish Whiskey, Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Grain Irish Whiskey and Blended Irish Whiskey for the first time and set out their unique production methods.

According to Carleen Madigan, Legal Advisor to the IWA, this week’s announcement marks the approval of the Irish whiskey technical file. “This is a momentous achievement for the Irish whiskey industry,” said Madigan, “which ensures that the traditions and high standards of the Irish whiskey category will be protected in the EU and globally in markets with which the EU has a trade agreement.

“As sales of Irish whiskey continue to boom globally, we have seen a trebling in the complaints to the Association regarding fake Irish whiskey around the world,” she added. “The Geographic Indication provides the strongest possible protection against these infringements and gives us the basis for enforcement action against misleading products.”

This week’s announcement also confirms GI protection for Irish Cream (Liqueur) and Irish Poitín.



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