Irish Whiskey Association Launches Campaign to Protect Key Product

The primary trade group for the Irish whiskey industry is teaming with the home country’s government—as well as asking for help from its members—to help protect the integrity of the product across borders.

Are you drinking Irish whiskey, or some other kind of alcoholic beverage? And is the terminology on the bottle misleading?

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) wants to ensure that you’re getting the real thing. Teaming with Michael Creed, Ireland’s minister of agriculture, food and the marine, the group this week announced the launch of the Protect Irish Whiskey Campaign, a multiyear effort designed to help clarify what’s what.

Although the beverage has a geographic designation, the new effort goes further to protect its status in the broader world.

“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,” IWA Chairman Bernard Walsh explained in a news release. “As Irish Whiskey continues to perform well, we are likely to be challenged considerably more in terms of misleading products, which is why this enforcement campaign is important.”

For the campaign, IWA has called on producers and distributors to call out products improperly advertising themselves using Irish whiskey terminology, misstating key facts about their products, such as their age, or relying on deceptive product placement. Even brands that don’t directly refer to themselves as Irish whiskey might be breaking the rules—“Irish Type Whiskey” or similar descriptions are a big no-no, according to the association.

IWA is working with a legal advisor as part of the campaign. That advisor, Carleen Madigan, emphasized the importance of IWA members being the group’s eyes and ears in the broader world.

“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,” she said.

Wanna help out? Those looking to report a case of misleading branding can send an email to  and describe identifying information about the product, such as how it is getting displayed, where it’s being sold, and companies listed on the label.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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