Poitín's GI protection now recognised in Japan

February 24, 2021

Irish Poitín’s Geographical Indication (GI) status is now recognised in the Japanese market, in a move that will offer Irish producers improved protection and potential to grow exports to the world’s third largest economy, with nominal GDP of $5.6 trillion.

The recognition stems from the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which came into force in February 2019. Each side offered 28 additional GIs protection from this month, to mark the second anniversary of the bilateral trade agreement.

Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream and Irish Poitín have protected EU Geographical indications (GI) status. This means that they can only be legally produced on the island of Ireland in line with an approved technical file. This protects them against counterfeit or misleading products in key export markets.

Vincent McGovern, Head of Drinks Ireland|Spirits said:

“Exports of Ireland’s GI spirits have grown significantly in recent years. Between 2018 and 2019, they grew by 5.95%, from 18.5 million nine litre cases to 19.6 million nine litre cases. Since 2014, exports of Ireland’s three protected spirits increased by 34.2%.

“This growth has been driven by Irish whiskey and Irish cream liqueur, but Irish Poitín producers also aim to deliver growth in the coming years, in many cases taking advantage of the unique benefits of having GI status.

“In Japan, there has been growth in the premium spirits category in recent years. While premium gin and whisk(e)y have been the main benefactors to date, this growth offers greater opportunities for Irish producers generally. Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey are already protected in the Japanese market, and we welcome news that Irish Poitín’s GI status is now also recognised.”