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TECHNICAL STANDARDS PROJECT GROUP UPDATE.

27 Jul 2022 10:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

As you may be aware, there are many ongoing discussions of technical standards for aged spirits in Australia. An example of which is the significant discussion about the term “Rum” used by Australian producers who are using the term without making Rum as defined by the Excise Act.

The Australian Distillers Association President and CEO were requested to engage with ACCC the Australian Government to determine our position. There have been several meetings with Australian regulators regarding the terms, including a border force and DFAT discussion with CEO Paul McLeay and Vice President, Cam Syme to discuss Geographical Indicators in the context of the Australian EU FTA. The concern was raised that Australia does not keep our own house in order, where the Australian Government was considering putting resources in place to protect international GIs.

Australian Whisky producers understand that Australian whisky and rum are unique. Our technical standards are not as cumbersome as some of our international producers. In Australia, "whisky" means a spirit obtained by the distillation of a fermented liquor of a mash of cereal grain in such a manner that the spirit possesses the taste, aroma and other characteristics generally attributed to whisky and has been matured by storage in wood for at least 2 years. Rum has a similar definition.

During the Australia UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations, the Australian Distillers Association, on behalf the Australian producers agreed to review our definition of Whisky and determine if the technical standard is contemporary, meets industry practices, and has the rigour to maintain consumer expectations.

As reported in the article ‘Australian Distillers Members experience a unique opportunity for professional development and networking with global peers as part of the recent UK Ireland Tour’, in June 2022 a delegation of 12 Australian distillers met with the Irish Whiskey Association and the Scotch Whisky Association for bilateral meetings to identify the obligations, benefits and compliance regime of implementing Geographical Indicators and other technical standards.

The Australian Distillers established a Technical Standards Project Group and have invited the Scotch Whisky Association to present at an open forum in August to all members.

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