Irish delegation in Washington

March 14, 2024

The Irish Whiskey Association, the representative body for the all-island Irish whiskey industry, reiterated its call for enhanced protections for Irish whiskey in the U.S., using the unique opportunity of St Patrick’s Day to meet with members of Congress in Washington D.C. on Monday of this week (11.03.24).
The Irish Whiskey Association has lodged a petition with the Trade and Tax Bureau (TTB) in Washington D.C. to seek enhanced protections for Irish whiskey in the U.S. market, and is this week campaigning for U.S. Senators and Congresspeople to support this effort.
Although Irish whiskey enjoys geographical indication (GI) status in 60 markets — ensuring that anything labelled Irish whiskey in these territories must be produced on the island of Ireland — this status is not currently recognised in the USA, Irish whiskey’s biggest export market. 
While Irish whiskey is considered a “distinctive product of Ireland” in the USA, the Irish Whiskey Association has taken a number of actions to stop companies from putting imitation ‘Irish-style’ whiskey on the market in the United States. These imitators often use imagery or phrasing which gives the impression that it is made in Ireland when it is not.
Congressman Richie Neal of Massachusetts, ranking member of the influential Ways and Means Committee and co-chair of the Friends of Ireland caucus in the House of Representatives, was the first U.S. politician to send a letter of support for the Irish Whiskey Association’s petition to the TTB. 
Speaking at a whiskey reception held by the Irish Whiskey Association on Capitol Hill for U.S. politicians and government staff on Monday of this week, Congressman Neal welcomed the “phenomenal growth” of Irish whiskey in the USA and the continued innovation of the Irish whiskey category. The Congressman congratulated the work of the Association and Irish whiskey producers in promoting Irish whiskey in the US and all over the world. 
Congressman Neal also underlined the all-island element of Irish whiskey, and spoke to his experience in promoting the Northern Ireland peace process in the 1990s and his recent push to re-establish the Executive in Stormont.
Also speaking at the event, director of the Irish Whiskey Association, Eoin Ó Catháin, said: “We are very proud of the ties between Irish whiskey and the United States. The US has a longstanding distinction as Irish whiskey’s largest market. Irish Whiskey is a premium, world-class product and along with being a vital sector of the Irish economy and agri-food exports, it is an internationally recognised emblem of Ireland’s cultural heritage. It’s heartening to see this celebration of Irish whiskeys from across the island of Ireland enjoy bipartisan support from U.S. politicians.”
Ninety-five per cent of whiskey produced in Ireland is destined for international markets and the total export value of Irish whiskey in 2023 was €875 million. Roughly half of these exports were to the USA and around 60 million bottles of Irish whiskey were sold in the USA in 2023.
For more information about the Irish Whiskey Association, go to