New EU wide rules regulating the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirits will ensure better protection for Irish whiskey, Irish cream liqueur and poitín, according to the Irish Spirits Association (ISA).
The ISA has welcomed the European Council's adoption of a new regulation that increases the harmonisation of standards across the EU and introduces clearer and more consistent labelling requirements for spirits.
The association added that the new rules also strengthen the protection of geographic indications (GIs) against trademarks by granting seven additional years of protection and that they preserve more traditional production methods.
By requiring information to be provided on the origin of ingredients, the ISA anticipates that the new rules will help clamp down on fake GI spirits.
"An Important And Growing Indigenous Sector"
Head of the ISA Vincent McGovern stated, "Ireland’s spirits industry is an important and growing indigenous sector, with products that stand out on the global stage as a result of their heritage, quality and authenticity. 235 million bottles of Irish spirits were sold globally in 2018, with Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur being two of the top five EU spirits exports categories.
"The ISA engaged in an intensive two-year lobbying campaign and, with the much-appreciated help of Irish and Northern Irish MEPs, was able to improve these rules opposing, for example, proposals that would have undermined Irish GIs, particularly the Irish cream GI. Thanks is also due to Commissioner Phil Hogan and his team, the minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Michael Creed TD, and his officials for their valuable assistance in this endeavour.
"With growth anticipated to continue, increased protection for our spirits industry is very important and these new EU rules really help. While benefitting Irish producers, the new rules will also be good for consumers, who will be better able to make informed choices, as there will be more uniform labelling requirements across the EU."
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