These have been submitted to the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as well as to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as the relevant authorities responsible for the all-island Irish Whiskey Geographic Indication.
The proposed amendments offer greater clarity and flexibility to distilleries. They ensure that Irish whiskey remains consistent with the industry’s rich heritage and traditions. Similarly, they’ll support sustainable processes being developed by the diverse and future-focused Irish Whiskey sector on the Island of Ireland.
Irish Whiskey’s GI status and the approval of the Irish Whiskey Product Specification ensures that only products produced and labelled in accordance with the Irish Whiskey Product Specification can be marketed and sold as Irish Whiskey.
These amendments have been developed by the Irish Whiskey Association’s Technical Committee which comprises leading technical experts from across the industry in consultation with the Association’s broader membership.
The Irish Whiskey Association’s Technical Committee and the production specification review proposal was chaired by Noel Sweeney, Master Distiller and Blender at Powerscourt Distillery.
“Irish Whiskey’s status as a protected Geographic Indication has played a key role in driving the global revival of Irish Whiskey sales over recent years,” he commented, “Our GI is built on a strong set of rules, consistent with Irish whiskey’s heritage and traditions. These proposed changes seek to provide greater clarity, efficiency and flexibility to Irish whiskey production processes in line with those heritage and traditions, while also promoting a more sustainable industry.”
The Irish Whiskey Association has proposed a number of amendments, one of which relates to expanding the definition of Pot Still Irish Whiskey to allow that up to 30% of other cereals – namely Oats, Wheat or Rye – be permitted. This expansion more accurately reflects traditional Irish pot still mash bills and greatly enhances the Pot Still category by broadening the potential grains’ taste-profile, allowing a more unique Irish pot still selling point.
Proposals also relate to the removal of the 30% maximum malted Barley requirement from the Grain Irish Whiskey definition. There’s historical precedence that a higher malted barley content has been used in grain production in the past. Removing this limit will better facilitate more sustainable grain whiskey production in the future as it allows distilleries adopt more energy-efficient processes.