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Irish Whiskey Association Proposes Changes To Irish Whiskey Product Specification

Published on Oct 12 2021 9:17 AM in Drinks tagged: Trending Posts / Irish Whiskey Association / IWA / Proper No. 12 / The Black Forge Inn / Jemi Ventures

Irish Whiskey Association Proposes Changes To Irish Whiskey Product Specification

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has proposed changes to the Irish whiskey product specification, which defines the category's production process and the rules that governing the all-island geographical indication (GI).

As reported by, these rules ensure that certain products can be labelled and marketed as Irish whiskey, and the IWS wants to change the Irish whiskey product specification to attempt to offer producers greater clarity and flexibility.

Proposal Details

The IWA's proposal was reportedly submitted to Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as well as to the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and the authorities responsible for the category's GI.

The IWA reportedly said that the proposed amendments will ensure that the category reflects its "rich heritage and traditions", and support sustainability.

The proposed changes reportedly include an expansion of the definition of pot still Irish whiskey, permitting up to 30% of other cereals, specifically oats, wheat or rye, to be used.

The IWA reportedly said that this reflects more traditional pot still mash bills and will "greatly enhance" the subcategory by widening the taste profile and offering a unique selling point.

The IWA is reportedly also calling for the removal of the 30% maximum malted barley requirement from the category's grain definition, and reportedly note that, historically, a higher malted barley content has been used in grain production, and reportedly said that this move would assist in more sustainable grain whiskey production in the future as distilleries would be able to use more energy efficient processes.

The proposed revisions were reportedly developed by the IWA’s technical committee, with consultation from the trade group's members.

IWA Technical Committee Chair Statement

IWA technical committee chair and Powerscourt Distillery master distiller and blender Noel Sweeney reportedly said, "Irish whiskey's status as a protected geographic indication has played a key role in driving the global revival of Irish whiskey sales over recent years.

"Our GI is built on a strong set of rules, consistent with Irish whiskey's heritage and traditions. These proposed changes seek to provide greater clarity, efficiency and flexibility to Irish whiskey production processes in line with those heritage and traditions, while also promoting a more sustainable industry."

Potential Impact Conor McGregor's Proper No. 12 Whiskey

According to The Business Post, the IWA's submission includes a suggestion that "the labelling, packaging, advertising, or promotion of an Irish Whiskey must not include a reference to any number (however expressed) if the reference to that number may create a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public as to whether the number relates to the maturation period of the Irish Whiskey, its age or when it was distilled", and said that the change is required to "ensure increased protection for consumers against misleading labelling practices while also protecting Irish Whiskey producers from unfair competition".

According to The Business Post, if this change is adopted, it would require Irish MMA star Conor McGregor's whiskey, Proper No. 12, to change its name to avoid any confusion over its age.

McGregor has reportedly said in the past that he chose the number 12 for the brand name as a reference to the postcode of Crumlin, Dublin 12, where he grew up.

An IWA spokesperson reportedly said when contacted by The Business Post, "The IWA doesn't comment on individual brands, so won't be making a comment on that."

The Business Post reportedly was not successful in attempts to reach a representative of Proper No. Twelve.

Possible Upgrades At The Black Forge Inn

In other Conor McGregor-related drinks and hospitality sector news, as reported by The Irish Independent, the MMA star's The Black Forge Inn pub in Crumlin be getting new upgrades, as the company behind it is seeking planning permission for works at the venue.

McGregor reportedly purchased The Black Forge Inn for €2 million last year and has reportedly spent an additional €1 million upgrading the pub.

Jemi Ventures, which reportedly holds the licence for the pub, reportedly had an application for planning permission listed as being registered by Dublin City Council late last month.

© 2021 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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