Irish Whiskey Association holding pre-St Patrick’s Day meetings in White House, US Congress
The lead representative body for the all-island Irish whiskey industry – The Irish Whiskey Association – paid a visit to Washington DC for meetings with senior US government officials and members of Congress.
The Irish Whiskey Association delegation is being led by its chairman James Doherty, managing-director of Sliabh Liag Distillers, and its director William Lavelle, who are being joined by other Irish Whiskey Association staff and members.
The delegation joined colleagues from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States in a meeting in the White House with senior staff of the Biden administration. Further meetings are planned with the US Department of the Treasury and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
The delegation is holding a series of meetings in the US Congress, including with Congressman Richard Neal, who is co-chair of the Friends of Ireland caucus, an organisation set up to advance the cause of peace in Northern Ireland. The delegation also attended Irish whiskey promotional events in New York and Philadelphia.
The Irish Whiskey Association is using the visit to Washington DC to push for increased protection for Irish whiskey in the United States, in the context of the rise of imitation Irish-like and Irish-style whiskeys.
The Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States are also using joint meetings this week to press for the permanent ending of a number of currently suspended transatlantic trade disputes.
As an all-island industry, the Irish Whiskey Association will additionally be discussing the importance of the all-island economy and its perspectives on the recent Windsor Framework. As part of Ibec, Ireland’s largest business organisation, the Irish Whiskey Association will be giving briefings on Ibec’s current ‘For Peace and Prosperity’ campaign, which highlights the economic and social benefits of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement on its 25th anniversary year. Ibec is also arranging a series of high-level engagements in New York and Washington this week.
William Lavelle, director of the Irish Whiskey Association, stated: “The United States remains Irish whiskey’s largest market, accounting for over 40% of our global sales. This visit is about putting in place the conditions for continued growth of authentic Irish whiskey, benefitting the whole island of Ireland.”