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Irish whiskey has been given special status by the EU

Whiskey distillers in Ireland have been calling for special status for Irish whiskey for years.

Image: Shutterstock/Igor Normann

IRISH WHISKEY HAS officially been given geographical status by the European Union similar to Champagne in France and Prosciutto in Italy. 

The approval of ‘Geographical Indication’ (GI) by the European Commission means that Ireland’s whiskey will now be marked with a sign indicating geographical origin and a product’s unique qualities and production methods. 

The submission to the EU by the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) defined distinctive types of Irish whiskey which have now been given special status. These include Malt Irish Whiskey, Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Grain Irish Whiskey and Blended Irish Whiskey.

Irish cream and Irish poitín were also given geographical indication status by the EU.

Whiskey distillers in Ireland have been calling for special GI status for Irish whiskey for years. Carleen Madigan, of the IWA, described the EU’s decision as a “momentous achievement”.

The decision, she said, “ensures that the traditions and high standards of the Irish whiskey category will be protected in the EU and globally in markets with which the EU has a trade agreement.”

“As sales of Irish whiskey continue to boom globally, we have seen a trebling in the complaints to the Association regarding fake Irish whiskey around the world,” Madigan.

“The Geographic Indication provides the strongest possible protection against these infringements and gives us the basis for enforcement action against misleading products.”

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