Tequila to get certification mark in USBy Kristiane Sherry
Mexico’s Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), or the Tequila Regulatory Council, has won the right to register ‘Tequila’ as a certification mark in the US following a legal battle with drinks group Luxco.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) found that ‘Tequila’ does not refer to “generic” liquor, but instead refers to blue agave distilled spirit from Mexico.
Luxco, which produces Exotico and El Mayor as part of its Tequila portfolio, had argued that consumers don’t recognise Tequila as being a product from Mexico.
The case hinged on the point that although the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recognises Tequila’s geographic significance, consumers may not be aware of the association.
The ruling now means the CRT can apply for a certification mark from the Patent and Trademark Office, which would give it control the use of the word ‘Tequila’ in the US market.
In Mexico ‘Tequila’ is produced under a complex set of rules, including that it must be made from a fermented agave mash in a specific area in and around the state of Jalisco.
Luxco declined to comment when approached by The Spirits Business.
It is unclear whether Luxco will appeal the decision.
Between 2010 and 2015, Tequila and mezcal sales grew 30% by volume in the US – faster than any other alcohol category bar Cognac.