New EU Rules for Better Protection of Irish Spirits

The Irish Spirits Assoication (ISA) has welcomed the adoption of new EU wide rules regulating the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirits which will ensure better protection for Irish whiskey, Irish cream and poitín into the future.

The new regulations, which sees an increase in the harmonisation of standards across the EU, as well as clearer and more consistent labelling requirements for spirits, also strengthens the protection of Geographic Indications against trademarks by granting seven additional years of protection.

The new rules will also preserve more traditional production methods, and require information to be provided on the origin of spirits ingredients.

Vincent McGovern, Head of the Irish Spirits Association, said: “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. 235m 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.”

The new regulation has now been published in the Official Journals and thus enters into force.

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