Icelandic Whisky Seeks Protected Status

FLóki Whisky

Icelandic distillery Eimverk has applied for protected status for the product name “Icelandic whisky.” Bændablaðið reports that the application was received by Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) in September and is being processed. If granted, the designation would limit which products could be labelled “Icelandic whisky,” reserving the term only for those produced in Iceland with local ingredients.

Eimverk distillery, founded in 2009, produces Icelandic liquors from local ingredients. Their single-malt Flóki whisky is produced locally in small batches using only Icelandic barley and Icelandic spring water.

Read more on Eimverk distillery’s Flóki whisky production

In December 2014, the Icelandic parliament enacted the Product Names Protection Act, which allows for the protection of product names on the basis of origin, territory, or traditional uniqueness. Such laws, often manifested as Designation of Origin, are widespread in Europe, where they are often applied to artisanal products such as French champagne and Spanish ham.

If it received protected status, Icelandic whisky would be the third product to do so. Icelandic traditional sweaters, known as lopapeysur, received that status earlier this year and Icelandic lamb was granted the distinction in 2019.

Request Protected Status for Hand-Knitted Icelandic Sweaters

lopapeysa Icelandic sweater

A group of Icelandic sweater producers hopes to legally protect the product name “Icelandic sweater” (Icelandic: íslensk lopapeysa). The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority has received a request from a group of traditional lopapeysa manufacturers to protect the term with a designation of origin. This means that sweaters with the traditional decorative pattern could only be labelled “Icelandic sweater” if they are knitted by hand in Iceland using Icelandic wool.

Designation of origin

In December 2014, the Icelandic parliament enacted the Product Names Protection Act, which allows for the protection of product names on the basis of origin, territory, or traditional uniqueness. Such laws, often manifested as Designation of Origin, are widespread in Europe, where they are often applied to artisanal products such as French cheese and Spanish ham. The first product name to receive such protection in Iceland was “Icelandic lamb,” which was protected last year.

The proposal suggest that an increased demand for Icelandic sweaters has led to widespread production of the traditional design with its decorative collar. “Increased foreign production of ‘lopapeysa’ sweaters made of foreign wool or synthetics also makes it urgent that buyers have the possibility to differentiate between ‘Icelandic sweaters’ and imitations,” states the proposal. Any opponents of the proposal are invited to submit comments by email via [email protected] by June 29, 2019.