New EU rules “better protection for Irish spirits”

New EU-wide rules regulating the definition, description, presentation and labelling of spirits will ensure better protection for Irish whiskey, Irish cream and Poitín into the future according to the Irish Spirits Association which has welcomed the adoption of the new European regulation by the European Council.  




The new regulation, which sees an increase in the harmonisation of standards across the EU as well as clearer and more consistent labelling requirements for spirits, also strengthens the protection of Geographic Indications against trademarks by granting seven additional years of protection.

The new rules also preserve more traditional production methods and require information to be provided on the origin of ingredients which is anticipated to clamp down on fake GI spirits.

“235 million bottles of Irish spirits were sold globally in 2018 with Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream liqueur being two of the top five EU spirits exports categories,” said Vincent McGovern, Head of the Irish Spirits Association which is currently engaged in an intensive two-year lobbying campaign. With the “much-appreciated help of Irish and Northern Irish MEPs” the ISA was able to improve rules opposing, for example, proposals that would have undermined Irish GIs (particularly the Irish Cream GI).

“With growth anticipated to continue, increased protection for our spirits industry is very important and these new EU rules really help,” he added, “While benefitting Irish producers, the new rules will also be good for consumers who’ll be better able to make informed choices as there will be more uniform labelling requirements across the EU.”

This new regulation has been published in the Official Journals. Apart from certain provisions on GIs (which will apply very shortly thereafter), the bulk of the new rules will become applicable as of 25th May 2021.




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