Call For Clampdown On Fake Irish Cream Liqueur

04 Dec 2017 | 12.15 pm

Call For Clampdown On Fake Irish Cream Liqueur

Sales rebound after 'lost decade'

04 Dec 2017 | 12.15 pm

With sales of Irish cream liqueur set to break all sales records over the holiday season, the Irish Spirits Association is calling for a clampdown on fake versions and is asking consumers to check labels to make sure they are getting the real thing.

Irish cream liqueur is protected by an EU-recognised Geographic Indication (GI) and the ISA wants enhanced protection of this GI in international markets. A GI means that Irish cream liqueur must be produced on the island of Ireland and in accordance with certain standards. The GI protects the integrity and quality of this spirits category and the investment made in production and employment on the island of Ireland.

ISA chair John Harte said: “Since its origin in 1974, Irish cream liqueur has been one of Ireland’s most successful spirits categories, loved by millions of people around the world. After a lost decade, during which growth in the category stalled, I am delighted to see that sales are once again growing in Ireland and globally. 

“In the lead-up to Christmas, this campaign seeks to raise awareness of Irish cream liqueur and protect the category. We hope this campaign will be accompanied by increased efforts by industry and stakeholders to monitor the markets and crackdown on fake, non-GI produce.”

The campaign for authenticity is called ‘Love Irish Cream Liqueur’ and comes when sales are growing again. Between 2012 and 2016, sales in Ireland fell by 11.2%, from 108,000 cases to 95,900 cases. This trend has now been halted. Over 90 million bottles of Irish cream liqueur were sold globally in 2016.  Preliminary figures from Nielsen show that the value of sales in the important Irish off-trade sector have increased by 3.4% during 2017.

The association met officials of the Department of Agriculture recently to advance efforts to tackle fake, non-GI produce.

To help combat fake products, the ISA points to several types of deceptive marketing and misleading labelling which it would like Irish consumers to watch out for, to avoid products using them, and to report them to the association.

Irish liqueur must be wholly produced on the island of Ireland. Bottling may take place outside the island. Any bottling taking place outside of the island will be subject to company controls and official verification, which will ensure the products’ safety and integrity. When bottled outside of Ireland, the label must say so — expressed as ‘Bottled in ______’.

The most obvious deception, says the ISA, is use of the description “Irish Cream” itself. Another is to use indirect indications of Irish origin to suggest that products are Irish Cream. These may include brand names associated with Ireland (e.g. Shamrock, Dublin Castle), surnames associated with Ireland (e.g. Murphy, O’Connor, Mc Donnell) iconography such as the Shamrock, Celtic Cross and  Harps or company names likely to be associated with Ireland. The misleading use of such Irish names or devices is not permitted.


Pix: Juien Behal

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