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Reynier: Regulations needed for Irish whiskey ‘credibility’

As more distilleries come online in Ireland, the establishment of greater regulations for the Irish whiskey industry should be made a “priority”, according to Mark Reynier, founder and CEO of Waterford Distillery.

Mark Reynier, CEO of Waterford Distillery

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Reynier, who is also the former MD of Scotland’s Bruichladdich Distillery, said that an influx of new Irish whiskey distilleries and brands means less experienced players may “play fast and loose with presentation, statements, and labeling – usually out of exuberance than actively trying to deceive”.

While laws relating to the production of Irish whiskey are outlined in its geographical indication, additional guidelines are needed, claimed Reynier.

“The application of some very basic and elementary marketing and labeling rules need to be applied, otherwise you risk these new producers confusing the consumer and potentially causing enough uncertainty to be counterproductive to their onward sales and development,” he stated.

“Keeping everyone singing from that same hymn sheet is very important and I don’t see that happening in Ireland at the moment.

“While I’m doing my own thing and we know what we’re doing, I think the Irish Whiskey Association is storing up a problem for itself in the future if it doesn’t address this sooner rather than later.”

Reynier said that while Scotch whisky producers have access so some “straightforward” guidelines through the Scotch Whisky Association, the IWA “needs to apply the same thing pretty damn pronto”.

He added: “There’s a collective responsibility that it is in the interests of everybody. This is what we need to do to develop and create credibility and belief in Irish whiskey as a sector.”

Reynier’s Waterford Distillery recently raised €20 million (US$21.4m) from investors to aid the development of its single malt whiskey production.

The distillery, based at the Waterford Brewery, formally used by Diageo to make Guinness, started production in 2015, with a firm focus on terrior, provenance and traceability by using barley from more than 40 different Irish farms.

For a more in-depth look at issues facing the Irish whiskey industry, see the July 2017 issue of The Spirits Business magazine, out now.

Waterford Distillery came online in 2015

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