India has granted geographic indication status to Irish whiskey, meaning that only spirits produced in Ireland can use ‘Irish whiskey’ on their labels.
According to trade body the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), the recognition is a “vital tool” in supporting the future growth of Irish whiskey in India.
India is the largest whiskey market in the world with 2.3 billion bottles sold last year, the vast bulk of which is domestically produced.
In 2018, sales of Irish whiskey in India doubled to 34,000 cases with further growth now being targeted, particularly in high-growth cities such as Delhi.
“Securing the geographical indication for Irish whiskey in India is another landmark for the Irish whiskey category,” said Carleen Madigan, legal advisor to the IWA and Drinks Ireland.
“Like similar registrations achieved earlier in the year in Australia and South Africa, this is another major success in our efforts to protect the integrity of Irish whiskey on a worldwide basis.
“We will now be able to take much tougher enforcement action against fake Irish whiskey products on sale in India. This protection will also enable us to maximise opportunities to increase sales in this crucial whiskey market as it is an important selling point for the Indian consumer knowing they can enjoy Irish whiskey confident in the quality and authenticity of the product.”
Last year, the IWA announced the launch of a worldwide drive against counterfeit Irish whiskeys. Members of the body agreed to treble the association’s legal budget for 2019, in a move to ensure there are sufficient resources to fight against products that infringe on the laws governing the labelling and sale of Irish whiskey.
Irish whiskey sales exceeded 10.5 million 12-bottle cases last year – the first time the category has broken the 10-million-case barrier since before prohibition in the US in the 1920s.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019