Irish whiskey's reputation was almost irrevocably damaged in the early 1900s when bootleggers sold fake Irish whiskey during Prohibition in the USA. Consumers' perception of Irish whiskey suffered due to low quality product being sold as Irish, and many switched to Scotch and Bourbon. We don't want this mistake to be repeated.
It is a matter of crucial importance that the reputation of Irish Whiskey is protected and the Drinks Ireland | Irish Whiskey devotes substantial resources to this task every year.
There are several layers of legal protection for Irish whiskey:
- In Ireland: the Irish Whiskey Act 1980 sets out the basic production method and technical standards.
- In Europe: The Irish Whiskey geographic indication (GI) is protected in the European Spirits Regulation 110/2008, which confers protected status on products such as Irish whiskey, Scotch and Cognac. Currently, all spirit GIs are required to develop comprehensive technical files that outline production methods, ingredients, and the links with the geographic area in question. The Irish whiskey technical file was submitted to the European Commission in February 2015.
- Internationally: Irish whiskey is recognised as a spirit produced in Ireland in many countries. This recognition is secured in a variety of ways. In all new Free Trade Agreement negotiations, the European Commission seeks to secure protection for GI products, which allow them to be sold in those markets and also gives the authorities in each Member State the ability to stop the sale of knock-off products. Outside of FTAs, many countries have their own GI registration schemes or appellation of origin registers.
Drinks Ireland | Irish Whiskey continues to work with its members and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ensure Irish whiskey is recognised globally as a protected term for use only by legitimate Irish whiskey produced in Ireland.
The Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the GI verification of Irish Whiskey. In the case of product produced in Northern Ireland verification is a matter for HMRC.
Please click on the link below for information on the verification of Irish Whiskey which is administered by Revenue
http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/excise/irish-whiskey-poteen-verification/irish-whiskey.html and the HMRC