EU grants Irish Whiskey GI

It was announced on April 2nd by the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) that the European Commission has approved a geographical indication (GI) protecting the methods of producing Irish whiskey. The application was made by the Irish Government in 2014 outlining the specifications for producing spirits which can be sold as ‘Irish Whiskey’ but it wasn’t until the beginning of this month that the commission granted the GI.

A page has been posted on the European Commission’s website outlining the characteristics of the spirit. The GI has been registered for products labelled anything from ‘Irish Whiskey’, ‘Irish Whisky’ to ‘Malt Irish Whiskey’ or ‘Grain Irish Whiskey’. According to the file all variations of Irish whiskey must be produced on the island of Ireland and the GI also specifies the detailed production methods for brewing, fermentation, distillation, maturation and bottling stages.

It has been stated that “Irish whiskey must be matured in wooden casks for at least three years. Bottling may take place outside the island of Ireland as long as it is subject to company controls and official verification” to comply with the terms of the GI. According to the Irish Governments submission the whiskey has unique characteristics which have not changed since the 6th century when Irish whiskey began its production.

The Irish Whiskey Association has responded to the registration stating it to be a ‘momentous achievement which will protect the traditions and high standards of Irish whiskey.’

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