The ISA’s concerns were addressed at a meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels this week with a focus on the three Irish spirits categories – Irish whiskey, Irish cream liqueur and Irish Poitín – protected by EU-recognised Geographical Indications.
The ISA delegation included ISA Head William Lavelle, ISA Vice Chair Aoife Clarke and Legal Advisor Carleen Madigan.
“Global sales of Ireland’s two main GI spirits – Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur – totalled nearly 16 million cases or nearly 200 million bottles in 2016 and were worth nearly €4 billion in sales value,” stated William Lavelle, “This growth is creating jobs in Ireland and is supporting Irish farmers’ incomes in terms of increasing purchases of malted barley, unmalted grains and fresh cream.
“The recognition and protection offered by the EU Geographical Indication is a highly important factor in Ireland’s booming spirits exports and we want keep it that way. We’re working with spiritsEurope to lobby for changes to the draft EU Spirits regulation which is currently going through the European Parliament. Our key objective is to ensure the ongoing integrity of Ireland’s three spirit GIs.”
In particular, The ISA briefed Commissioner Hogan on these concerns and is actively engaging with Irish and Northern Irish MEPs on the need for amendments to the proposed regulations.
The ISA also briefed Commissioner Hogan on domestic threats to growth including advertising restrictions in the Government’s proposed Alcohol Bill which will undermine competition, innovation and investment in the Irish spirits industry.