Irish whiskey gains GI status from European Commission

4th April, 2019 by Melita Kiely

The European Commission has approved Irish whiskey as a geographical indication (GI), along with Irish cream and Irish poitín.

Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey, Irish cream and Irish poitín have all been granted GI status by the European Commission

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 detailed the different types of Irish whiskey, including malt Irish whiskey, pot still Irish whiskey, grain Irish whiskey and blended Irish whiskey, as well as their individual production techniques.

This was in keeping with a 2008 EU Spirit Regulation, which required member states to submit a technical file to the European Commission for each GI registered by 20 February 2015, outlining production methods, ingredients and links with the geographical area in question.

Carleen Madigan, legal advisor to the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), said: “This is a 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 complaints 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 IWA welcomed the approval of Irish whiskey’s GI status, as well as those for Irish cream and Irish poitín.

Vincent McGovern, head of the IWA, said: “This week’s announcement was likewise of great significance to both Irish cream and Irish poitín 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.”

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