spiritsNEWS June 2020

Celebrating European GI spirits, the jewels of Europe!

A new interactive map geolocating all of Europe’s 240 spirits Geographical Indications (GIs) has been launched this month, showing the great diversity, rich cultural heritage, and economic importance of these products for communities all across Europe.

Products like Cognac, Irish Whiskey and Polish Vodka are among our most well-known, yet the list is so much longer! For the first time today, we are – quite literally – putting all of these GI spirits on the map. We invite you to explore this exciting new tool and to discover more about the different regions and passionate people producing this extraordinarily wide range of quality spirits here.

GIs are not only important for the culinary culture and tradition of Europe. They also have significant economic importance. A study published by the European Commission in April of this year found that spirits with GIs sell for over two and a half times more than products without the protection, underlining the high quality and reputation that consumers attach to GI products.

European spirits with GI protection are both popular at home and hugely appreciated worldwide: domestic sales amounted to more than €10 billion in 2017, while GI spirits made up two-thirds of total European spirits exports worth €12.5 billion last year.  As such, the economic contribution of GI spirits to local communities is substantial, and never more so as Europe begins to re-open from lockdowns.

Another important way in which spirits, and GI spirits in particular, contribute to local development is spirits tourism. From family-owned micro-distilleries to some of the world’s biggest and best-known brands, distilleries across Europe attract millions of visitors every year from across the globe. In 2019, two million people visited Scotch Whisky distilleries, almost two million tourists visited French distilleries, while Irish distilleries welcomed more than one million visitors.

Distillers across Europe are playing their part in driving the European recovery after the devasting pandemic, but they need support. We need the European Commission to continue to champion the protection of GIs in trade discussions. With promotion and the right supports, distillers will once again drive exports and create jobs and growth in Europe.

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