Irish Whiskey connoisseurs are to get stronger protection against inferior products following new legislation introduced by the Irish Government.

Irish Whiskey, Irish Poitín and Irish Cream products such as Baileys are all protected "Geographical Origin" products under EU law. This means that any producers outside Ireland cannot describe their products using these names. This is the same law that means Sparkling Wine produced in the Champagn area of France is the only one that can use the name Champagne (hence Italian Prosecco).

But a loophole existed where unscrupulous manufacturers could possible have imported inferior products and packaged them here to use the name. While there are no reports of this having happened the government has just introduced new legislation that ensure regular checks will now be carried out to ensure Irish distillers meet the required specifications.

Agirculture Minister Simon Coveney explained that "They can help to protect the reputation and integrity of these products, but also to protect Irish jobs. From a consumer perspective, they will also give assurance to customers, at home and abroad, of the quality of the unique spirit products they are consuming."

Mr Coveney said Irish whiskey was growing in popularity, with exports growing by almost 200% in the last decade.
"Three years ago, the island of Ireland had four distilleries in operation - in the next three years that number could grow to over 20," he said.

"I am confident that this success can be replicated in other spirit drinks products."

While the Origin laws are followed across most of the world, the US is the one major country that refuses to follow them leading to lots of "Champagne", "Parma Ham" and similar products not produced according in those regions or according to traditional recipes being sold there.