Concern over numerous incidences of Canadian-produced liqueurs being passed-off as ‘Irish cream’

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Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Producers of Irish cream liqueur have raised concerns over the protection over what they call incidences of Canadian-produced liqueurs being passed-off as ‘Irish cream’.

New figures show that exports of Irish cream liqueur rose in 2018, while sales in the Irish market also increased, according to Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI).

Globally, 7.5m cases (90m bottles) of Irish cream liqueur were sold in 2017, up 2.9pc from 2016.

Meanwhile, preliminary interim export stats for 2018 suggest there was an export growth rate of approximately 8pc for this year, driven by strong export growth to the US.

Irish cream liqueur is protected by a geographical indication (GI).

This is similar to Champagne, which must be produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France; Roquefort cheese, which must be made from sheep’s milk and aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in the south of France; and Parma ham, which must be made in Italy’s Parma region.

Irish cream liqueur must be made on the island of Ireland, contain Irish dairy cream and Irish whiskey, in accordance with an approved technical file, which dictates how it must be produced.

Patricia Callan, Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, said the continued protection of Irish cream liqueurs in export markets through the GI will be vitally important.

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“The GI protects the authenticity and high standards of Irish cream liqueur and provides a legal device to protect the name ‘Irish Cream’ in Ireland and globally.

"For example, the Irish Spirits Association is currently working with the Irish Government and EU Commission to invoke GI protection in Canada to tackle numerous incidences of Canadian-produced liqueurs being passed-off as ‘Irish Cream’,” she said.

Ms Callan highlighted that the Irish cream liqueur sector makes an important contribution to the Irish economy, purchasing 316m litres of fresh cream from Irish farmers every year, sourced from 46,000 dairy cows.

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