Drinks Ireland | Spirits launches campaign to protect and promote Irish Cream Liqueur

Industry says action is needed due to growing threat of imitator products in international markets

Johnny Harte, Drinks Ireland Irish Cream; Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue; and Aengus King, Drinks Ireland | Spirits


Drinks Ireland | Spirits is launching a new international campaign called #ExploreIrishCream to address the growing threat of imitator Irish Cream Liqueur products. The campaign will also promote the category in key international markets, as global sales soar.

Ibec trade association Drinks Ireland | Spirits has also published a new report that will be distributed among producing members, customers, the international supply chain, and key stakeholders in order to help achieve this.

The report outlines the international trade protections that safeguard Irish Cream Liqueur, including a Geographic Indication (GI) across the EU, UK and international markets where Free Trade Agreements are in place. The GI status means that Irish Cream Liqueur must be produced on the island of Ireland, with a specific production process and approved ingredients including Irish Whiskey and fresh Irish dairy cream.

Despite these protections, there are a number of non-Irish cream products in the marketplace that aim to imitate authentic Irish Cream Liqueur.

According to Drinks Ireland | Spirits, deceptive marketing and misleading labelling is commonly used by imitators and non-Irish producers to mislead the consumer into thinking that their product is genuine Irish Cream Liqueur, or of Irish origin. This can include the use of symbols like shamrocks, Irish harps, and Celtic crosses.

The new report aims to empower the supply chain, including producers, wholesalers and distributors, to identify, document and report potentially fake products to Drinks Ireland | Spirits and the relevant authorities, so action can be taken.

This comes as sales of Irish Cream Liqueur grow at home and abroad. In 2021, sales outstripped those of 2019, standing just shy of breaking the 10 million cases barrier for the first time.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said: “The Irish Cream Liqueur sector is a national success story with a global footprint. It is a sector we are hugely proud of. The sector uses products which are intrinsically linked to Irish agriculture through the use of fresh Irish cream and Irish Whiskey. The Geographic Indication is vital to safeguard the authentic and unique nature of our Irish Cream Liqueur internationally, and there is a clear need for ongoing vigilance to protect these products in our key export markets, in consultation with my Department.”

“We are at a pivotal moment for Irish Cream Liqueur, as sales continue to grow globally, with particular success in markets such as the UK, North America and Germany,” said Johnny Harte, chair of the Drinks Ireland Irish Cream working group and co-founder of Five Farms Irish Cream. “With this growth though comes threats in the form of imitation products. The ambition of our campaign and report is to empower producers, wholesalers, distributors and others to document and report potentially fake products.”

Aengus King, director of Drinks Ireland | Spirits said: “Our new campaign and report seeks to promote the category among key stakeholders. It profiles Irish Cream Liqueur producers across the island of Ireland, highlighting the unique, genuine and authentic nature of these products.”

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