‘Protect Irish Whiskey’ campaign launched

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Mr Michael Creed TD joined the Irish Whiskey Association in launching the ‘Protect Irish Whiskey Campaign’ recently.

The campaign aims to address in international markets the sale of products that are wrongly advertised, packaged, displayed or named in a way that makes them appear to be Irish Whiskey.

Irish Whiskey must be distilled and matured in wooden casks on the island of Ireland for at least three years and the campaign is directed to Irish Whiskey producers, distributors and all who value Irish Whiskey.

It asks them to highlight any potentially misleading products to the Irish Whiskey Association so that action can be taken.

The Irish Whiskey Association indicated the that there are many ways that consumers may be led to believe a product is genuine Irish whiskey:


  • The use of names or devices associated with Ireland like shamrocks or Irish surnames
  • If a local ‘whisky’ were to be produced in another country containing some Irish Whiskey and passed off as Irish Whiskey
  • A product being called Irish Whiskey when, in fact, it’s not as it doesn’t meet specific production requirements
  • The use of descriptions such as “Irish Type Whiskey” or “Irish Style Whiskey” are forbidden under Irish Whiskey’s Geographical Indication protection status
  • Misleading packaging, Point-Of-Sale material and advertising
  • Misleading age claims
  • A product displayed amongst Irish Whiskey



Food Wise 2025, Ireland’s ‘Local Roots, Global Reach’ growth strategy, has highlighted the growth opportunities for Irish Whiskey and commits to continuing to support, protect and promote Ireland’s Geographical Indications,” stated Minister Creed, speaking at the launch, “So today’s launch is timely. My Department works closely with the Irish Whiskey Association on protecting and promoting Irish Whiskey. With exports of €410 million expected to double by 2020, the Irish Whiskey reputation is important to the industry and the Irish economy.”

The Irish Whiskey Association has been set up to protect and promote the Irish Whiskey category. The Irish Whiskey Association devotes substantial resources to this task every year and has hired a Legal Advisor in the protection role, Carleen Madigan BL. Carleen is a former practicing Barrister.

Speaking at the launch she said, “The growing popularity and reputation of Irish Whiskey may encourage some individuals to seek to take unfair advantage of it. The ‘Protect Irish Whiskey Campaign’ aims to ensure the integrity of the category is maintained and will ensure that the category maximises its potential. The Irish Whiskey Association cannot visit every market worldwide and accordingly we rely on data and information from others to alert us to instances of misleading labelling, imitation or unfair competition so that action can be taken”.

Bernard Walsh, Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and founder of Walsh Whiskey Distillery added, “Irish Whiskey is the fastest-growing premium spirits category in the world. Global market share is set to grow by 300% by 2030 to 12%. By 2025 production will rise by 41% from 2010 levels. While we have achieved Geographical Indication status for Irish Whiskey, which is significant in terms of protecting the integrity of category, we must not rest on our laurels.

“As Irish Whiskey continues to perform well, we’re likely to be challenged considerably more in terms of misleading products, which is why this enforcement campaign is important. We very much welcome the Minister for Agriculture and the Department’s support in ensuring the category reaches its full potential.”

The Irish Whiskey Association is urging anyone who notices potentially misleading products to report it to Carleen Madigan, c/o Irish Whiskey Association, 84/86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 or by e-mail to 

o      The name of the brand

o      The wording on the label

o      The names of any companies identified on the labels

o      The name and address of the outlet where the product is being sold.

o      Photographs of the display (with date photographs were taken)


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