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Irish Whiskey Industry Welcomes EU-Japan Trade Agreement

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Irish Whiskey Industry Welcomes EU-Japan Trade Agreement

Irish Whiskey Industry Welcomes EU-Japan Trade Agreement
July 17
10:36 2018

The Irish Whiskey Association has welcomed the signing of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, the largest trade deal negotiated yet by the European Union. While sales of Irish whiskey remain relatively low, Japan is currently the largest market in Asia for Irish whiskey and last year Irish whiskey sales in Japan recorded a 15.7% growth to just under half a million bottles.

This growth has been led by the success in Japan of Jameson while brands such as Tullamore D.E.W, Bushmills and Teelings are also popular on the market.

William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, commented: “We see Japan as being a key growth market for Irish whiskey in future years. We welcome the new EU-Japan agreement as it introduces protection for the Irish whiskey geographic indication (GI) in Japan for the first time. This means that only authentic Irish whiskey, produced on the island of Ireland in line with the approved technical file, can be sold bearing the name Irish whiskey.”

He added: “As Irish whiskey grows in popularity worldwide, we are regrettably, but unsurprisingly, seeing more counterfeit produce on the market. The legal recognition of the GI in emerging markets such as Japan is vital to protecting the high standards that are the hallmark of Irish whiskey as well as protecting the investment made in Ireland by genuine producers.”

Japan is now being targeted by a number of new Irish whiskey brands, including Lambay Irish Whiskey.

Jean-David Coster, Managing Director of the Lambay Irish Whiskey Company, said: “Historically, Asian markets have not been among the traditional or more important markets for Irish whiskey. However, Lambay Irish Whiskey Company strongly believes that this region represents a great opportunity for the premium and super premium segments of the Irish whiskey category, in particular the malt segment. We feel that the Irish whiskey category still has not fully tapped into the opportunities which Japan and the Asia region offer. More and more discerning consumers in Asia are looking for genuine and premium or super premium products, that are exclusive and created in small batches, combined with a sense of history and tradition.”

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