The Irish Whiskey Association has successfully registered Irish whiskey as a certification mark in South Africa, the seventh-largest market for Irish whiskey by volume.
The registration provides legal protection for Irish whiskey in South Africa for the first time and follows a successful trademark registration for it in Australia last February.
These registrations ensure that much tougher enforcement action can be taken against fake Irish whiskey products and this, in turn, greatly benefits consumers as they can enjoy Irish Whiskey confident in the quality and authenticity of the product.
In 2017 369,000 cases of Irish whiskey were sold in South Africa – an increase of 4.5% on the previous year.
“The registration of Irish whiskey as a certification mark in South Africa is another major achievement in our efforts to protect the integrity of Irish Whiskey worldwide,” said the IWA’s Legal Advisor Carleen Madigan, commenting on the registration, “This will ensure Irish whiskey maximises its potential and maintains its growth trajectory.”
The Irish whiskey industry has trebled its investment in the protection work of the IWA this year, she pointed out, adding, “This has enabled us to significantly expand our remit in securing the recognition and protection for Irish whiskey in important export markets like South Africa and Australia.
“This protection greatly enhances our ability to defend the industry against imitation products, which threaten the integrity of Irish whiskey and the strong reputation it has built up over many years. It also undermines consumer confidence in genuine Irish whiskey products.”
Protection in 46 countries
Irish whiskey is now recognised and protected in 46 countries globally, with many more applications pending. The EU has also greatly helped to extend recognition for Irish whiskey by seeking protection for EU Geographical Indications in free trade agreements with third countries.
Carleen Madigan added, “Irish whiskey has recently become protected in Japan and Canada as a result of EU agreements. The category will soon obtain GI protection in Argentina, Brazil and Vietnam as a result of further recently concluded deals.
“We wish to acknowledge the commitment and support of the EU Commission, and in particular Commissioner Phil Hogan, in finalising trade agreements which protect Irish whiskey, expand export opportunities and benefit Ireland as a whole.
“Taking action now to secure such protection is vital as the industry expands, as failure to act will cause difficulties in protecting Irish whiskey in the future.”