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Irish Whiskey Association Launches Drive Against 'Fake' Irish Whiskeys

By Dave Simpson

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has announced it is launching a major worldwide drive against “fake” Irish whiskeys.

Members of the IWA have agreed to treble the association’s legal budget for 2019, ensuring there are sufficient resources to fight against products that infringe on the laws governing the labelling and sale of Irish whiskey. The IWA and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland have also recently agreed new Guidelines on the labelling and marketing of Irish whiskey.

Irish whiskey is an internationally-recognised Geographic Indication, meaning that Irish whiskey can only be made on the island of Ireland in line with an approved technical file.

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Head of the IWA, William Lavelle, stated, “As global sales of Irish whiskey continue to sky-rocket, it’s not surprising that fraudsters want to get-in on our success. But it doesn’t mean we’ll let them. Whether it’s a Russian spirit with brown coloring or a US-made whiskey being labelled as ‘Irish-style’; it’s not authentic Irish whiskey. The IWA, under the direction of our head legal advisor, Carleen Madigan, will be increasing our response to such infringements in line with the priority and funding being provided by our member companies, who are the people making real, authentic Irish whiskey here in Ireland.”

GI Recognition

The IWA has taken steps to ensure that Irish whiskey is recognised and protected as a Geographical Indication (GI) in all export markets where there is an existing GI registry. Where such GI protection is not available, other means of protecting Irish whiskey are considered, such as registering Irish whiskey as a certification or collective trademark. With the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, the IWA have applications pending in Australia, South Africa, Russia, India and Thailand.

New Guidelines

The IWA and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland have also recently agreed to a new set of guidelines on the labelling and marketing of Irish whiskey.

Lavelle said, “These new guidelines will mean that consumers can be assured that the information appearing on an Irish whiskey label is accurate and not misleading, and it will provide a clear and agreed benchmark against which complaints of misleading labelling can be assessed and enforced against.”

© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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