The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) has lobbied the European Union to negotiate intellectual property (IP) and geographical indication (GI) protection with Russia to help it fight against fake Irish whiskey.
The industry body, which is part of Ibec's Drinks Ireland, has sent submissions to the EU's trade policy review and to the bloc's review of IP rights calling on a move to enhance the strength of IP protection for Irish whiskey.
Last year, the IWA came across six fake Irish whiskey brands in Russia, three of which were produced in Belarus. It sought to have the products taken off shelves in Russia - however, authorities there failed to take action. The lobby group then issued cease-and-desist letters to the companies and retailers selling the fake Irish whiskey, leading to them no longer being sold.
Carleen Madigan, a legal advisor with Drinks Ireland and the Irish Whiskey Association, said the IP protection was crucial.
Russia is the second-largest export market for whiskey, accounting for some 606,000 cases in 2019.