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South Africa agrees to protect Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey has been granted legal protection in South Africa, the category’s seventh largest market by volume.

Irish whiskey
The registration of Irish whiskey as a certification mark in South Africa is a “major achievement” for the category

According to trade body the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), the registration will give the industry a greater ability to combat fakes.

It follows the IWA’s success in securing a certification mark for Irish whiskey in Australia in February this year.

In South Africa, 4.43 million bottles of Irish whiskey were sold in 2017 – an increase of 4.5% on the previous year.

“The registration of Irish whiskey as a certification mark in South Africa is another major achievement in our efforts to protect the integrity of Irish whiskey worldwide,” said Carleen Madigan, IWA’s legal advisor.

“Legal protection in such an important market forms the solid foundation on which the industry’s success is built. This will ensure Irish whiskey maximises its potential and maintains its growth trajectory.

“This year, the Irish whiskey industry has trebled its investment in the protection work of the IWA.

“This has enabled us to significantly expand our remit in securing the recognition and protection for Irish whiskey in important export markets, like South Africa and Australia.”

Irish whiskey is protected in 46 countries globally, with more applications pending.

Last July, the IWA hailed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement – the largest trade deal ever negotiated by the EU – which will offer greater protection for Ireland’s native spirit.

The trade agreement means the geographical indication (GI) of Irish whiskey will be protected in its largest Asian market, Japan.

Madigan added: “Irish whiskey has recently become protected in Japan and Canada as a result of EU agreements.

“The category will soon obtain GI protection in Argentina, Brazil and Vietnam as a result of further recently concluded deals.

“We wish to acknowledge the commitment and support of the EU Commission, and in particular commissioner Phil Hogan, in finalising trade agreements which protect Irish whiskey, expand export opportunities and benefit Ireland as a whole.”

In April this year, the European Commission approved Irish whiskey as a GI, along with Irish cream and Irish poitín.

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