The European spirits industry has welcomed a deal reached by the European Parliament and Council to strengthen geographical indications (GIs) for wine, spirit drinks and agricultural products.

The deal, struck in late October, is expected to increase the uptake of GIs throughout Europe and improve their protection, especially online.

The revised rules include a simplified registration procedure, a reinforced role for producer groups, and a greater focus on sustainability.

Sarah Melina Siebel of spiritsEUROPE commented that sustainability is a way of life rooted in the terroir in which fine spirits are produced and that sustainability practices may vary between regions. “The new rules will reinforce ambition on our shared sustainability objective, yet allow flexibility for different pathways to develop and progress locally,” Sarah Melina Siebel added.

The trade body emphasised that the GI system is very important for Europe’s spirits sector as GI spirits account for two-thirds of EU spirits exports. There are more than 250 different EU spirit GIs with some of them being Irish Whiskeys, Cognac, Grappa, Polish Vodka, Deutscher Weinbrand, Ouzo and Geneve.

In 2022, EU spirits exports performed well, rising 16% to a total value of EUR 9.74 billion. The industry, however, says that the 2023 outlook is clouded by high inflation, increasing production costs and geopolitical tensions.