Irish Whiskey's GI status confirmed by EU Commission

The EU Commission has confirmed Irish Whiskey’s status as a Geographical Indication (GI) has been approved.

The Irish whiskey industry worked with the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine to submit the Irish whiskey technical file in 2014. The file defines the distinctive types of Irish whiskey and their unique production methods.

Carleen Madigan, Legal Advisor to the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), said: “This week’s announcement by the European Commission marks the approval of the Irish Whiskey technical file. This is momentous achievement for the Irish whiskey industry and 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 complains to the Association regarding fake Irish whiskey around the world. The Geographic Indication provides the strongest possible protection against these infringements and gives us the basis for enforcement action against misleading products.”

The announcement also confirms GI protection for Irish Cream (Liqueur) and Irish Poitin.

Vincent McGovern, head of the Irish Spirits Association, said: “This week’s announcement was likewise of great significance to both Irish Cream and Irish Poitin as their Technical Files were also approved. Both categories will benefit from the strong protection and higher profile a European Geographic Indication provides at home, across the Internal Market and in export markets worldwide.”

Under a 2008 EU Spirit Regulation, member states were required to submit to the European Commission a comprehensive technical file for each GI registered, by February 2015. These files outline the production methods, ingredients and links with the geographical area in question. The technical file submitted by the Irish whiskey industry 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.

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