Belgian whisky may get a PGI
Distilleries producing Belgian whisky are discussing the possibility of obtaining a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) after distinguishing themselves internationally.
The Belgian Wine and Spirits Federation is embarking on a new project led by Vinum and Spiritus to obtain a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for Belgian whiskies.
It is thanks to the success of the distilleries with their award-winning whiskies produced in Belgium and representing their experience and know-how, that they are considering the possibility of applying for Belgian whiskies to be labeled as a PGI.
The PGI is an identification endorsement valid at European level. It makes it possible to designate food products or beverages whose quality is linked to a region or a country. This requires that the product is manufactured in the appropriate region. There is also the drafting of a specification that producers must follow, and the obligation to define what makes such a product specific. The project then has to be approved at the regional (or national) level before being approved at the European level.
Thanks to whisky producers such as Owl Distillery (Waremme), best European whisky according to Jim Murray; Distillerie Braeckman (Audenarde) also best European whisky in 2021; or the Molenberg distillery (Blaasveld) linked to Brasserie Carolus, which has won several awards for its single malts, a reputation is created at the international level which, as Bernard Zacharias, president of Vinum et Spiritus and CEO of Distillerie Radermacher, puts it, calls for “valorizing Belgian whisky to the maximum.”
“We are very proud of these results and want to promote Belgian whisky as much as possible. That’s why we have started drafting the technical specifications to obtain a PGI,” he explains.
Another interesting factor that highlights the uniqueness of Belgian production is the union of two traditions: “The two traditions, distillery and brewery, come together in Belgium, which is unique,” explains Geert Van Lerberghe, director of Vinum et Spiritus.
“We have a special tradition,” says Geert Van Lerberghe, director of the federation, “farms that distilled peket or genever are at the origin of several of today’s distilleries, while others were created by brewers. The two traditions, distilling and brewing, come together in Belgium, which is unique.”
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