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India agrees to protect Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey has been granted legal protection in India, the largest whisky market in the world.

Irish whiskey
The IWA has successfully registered ‘Irish whiskey’ as a certification mark in India

According to trade body the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), the registration of Irish whiskey as a certification mark will mean that the category “can fully compete against other whiskies by reinforcing the authenticity of the product for the Indian consumer”.

India is the largest whisky market in the world by volume, with 2.3 billion bottles sold in 2018, the majority of which were domestically produced.

Last year, sales of Irish whiskey doubled to 34,000 cases in India with “further growth now being targeted”, mainly in “high-growth” cities such as Delhi.

“Securing the geographical indication for Irish whiskey in India is another landmark for the Irish whiskey category,” said Carleen Madigan, IWA’s legal advisor.

“Like similar registrations achieved earlier in the year in Australia and South Africa, this is another major success in our efforts to protect the integrity of Irish whiskey on a worldwide basis

“We will now be able to take much tougher enforcement action against fake Irish whiskey products on sale in India.

“This protection will also enable us to maximise opportunities to increase sales in this crucial whiskey market as it is an important selling point for the Indian consumer knowing they can enjoy Irish whiskey confident in the quality and authenticity of the product.”

Last year, the IWA launched a major drive to combat the sale of counterfeit Irish whiskey around the world, tripling its legal budget for 2019.

Irish whiskey gained greater legal protection in Asia following the signing of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement last summer.

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