The implementation of new rules for the EU’s Geographical Indications (GI) system in agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines and spirits will ensure 'strong protection' for the spirits industry, spiritsEUROPE has said.
The Belgium-based group, which represents the spirits industry at European level, comprising 31 associations and 11 international companies, congratulated the European Council and European Parliament for striking a deal to implement the new rules, which it added will also support sustainability initiatives in producer communities.
“We greatly appreciate that the new rules will strengthen GI protection, including online, and structurally support our shared sustainability ambition," commented Ulrich Adam, director general, spiritsEUROPE.
"GI spirits are a best-case example of how comprehensive sustainability approaches can grow and develop organically over time in local communities which produce, enjoy and share these high-quality products. The new rules will structurally support our continuous sustainability journey in the years ahead."
The EU's spirits industry boasts more than 25 GIs, while GI spirits make up two thirds of spirits exports from the bloc, indicating that the Geographical Indications system is of 'fundamental importance' for Europe’s spirits sector, spiritsEUROPE said.
The group added that GIs help to protect longstanding traditions, guarantee 'high production and quality standards;, and bolster 'social, economic and environmental sustainability'.
“Sustainability is a way of life deeply rooted in the terroir in which fine spirits are produced – and as diverse as European landscapes, climates and communities," added Sarah Melina Siebel, director internal market and sustainability, spiritsEUROPE.
"Sustainability in the south of Spain may look different to sustainability in Germany’s Münsterland. The new rules will reinforce ambition on our shared sustainability objective, yet allow flexibility for different pathways to develop and progress locally.”
The revised document also touches upon crucial topics such as the prospective roles of GI producer groups, both within and beyond the EU. Additionally, it underscores the safeguarding of GI spirits when incorporated into food products and within the rapidly growing online landscape, amid heightened e-commerce and digital sales.