Irish Whiskey Association Calls for Changes
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Irish Whiskey Association Calls for Changes to Whiskey Specifications, Promote Sustainability

Irish Whiskey

A view of a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey during Jameson’s Love Thy Neighborhood Brewery Fest in support of New York Restoration Project at Duggal Greenhouse on Oct. 14, 2017, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Jameson Irish Whiskey)

On Monday, The Irish Whiskey Association submitted proposals for multiple amendments to rules governing Irish whiskey to “promote sustainability and better reflect tradition,” it said in a news release.

The association submitted the proposals to the Irish Whiskey Product SPecification, which mandates production processes and other rules governing the Irish Whiskey Geographic Indication.

According to The Irish Whiskey Association, the proposed amendments will “offer greater clarity and flexibility to distilleries” and ensure that Irish Whiskey remains consistent with the industry’s heritage and traditions, while also supporting the development of sustainable processes.

The association said that the amendments were chaired by Noel Sweeney, master distiller and blender at Powerscourt Distillery, and developed by the Irish Whiskey Association’s Technical Committee, which is made up of leading technical experts from across the industry, in consultation with the association’s broader membership.

“Irish Whiskey’s status as a protected geographic indication has played a key role in driving the global revival of Irish Whiskey sales over recent years,” Sweeney said in the release. “Our [Geographical Indication status] is built on a strong set of rules, consistent with Irish Whiskey’s heritage and traditions. These proposed changes seek to provide greater clarity, efficiency and flexibility to Irish Whiskey production processes in line with those heritage and traditions, while also promoting a more sustainable industry.”

One of the proposed amendments seeks to expand the definition of pot still Irish whiskey to allow up to 30% of other cereals (oats, wheat or rye). According to the association, this expansion will more accurately reflect traditional Irish pot still mash bills and will enhance the category by broadening potential taste profiles.

Another proposal seeks to remove the 30% maximum malted barley specification from the definition of grain Irish whiskey, in order to facilitate more sustainable grain whiskey production as it will allow distilleries to adopt more energy-efficient processes.

It’s great to see another entity in the spirits industry devoting itself to promoting sustainability. In late September, Diageo, which created the most sustainable whiskey bottle in April, opened an entirely carbon-neutral distillery. Last week, Springbank announced it was getting rid of the packaging that comes with many of its bottles in order to be more environmentally friendly.

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David Morrow is the managing editor of Whiskey Raiders and has been with the company since September 2021. David has worked in journalism since 2015 and has had bylines at Sports Illustrated, Def Pen, the Des Moines Register and the Quad City Times. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Saint Louis University and a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. When he’s not tasting the newest exciting whiskey releases, David enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, watching sports and traveling.