It’s been more than 50 years since the United States declared Bourbon a distinctive product of the United States. And ever since then the U.S. has been working with other countries to protect America’s Native Spirit from counterfeiters.
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Karen Longaric have signed an agreement to officially recognize each countries native distilled spirits.
Under the agreement, the United States will recognize Singani, a type of brandy, as a distinctive product of Bolivia; and in return, Bolivia will recognize Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the United States.
What is Singani?
Singani is a distilled spirit that is a distinctive native product of Bolivia. In international terms it most closely resembles a brandy. It’s distilled from white Muscat of Alexandria grapes grown at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains at 5,250 feet or higher. It is a mostly clear un-aged, un-barreled product.
And if you are curious here is how NAFTA defined Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey back in 1993.
Wine and Distilled Spirits
- Canada and Mexico shall recognize Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey, which is straight Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the State of Tennessee, as distinctive products of the United States. Accordingly, Canada and Mexico shall not permit the sale of any product as Bourbon Whiskey or Tennessee Whiskey, unless it has been manufactured in the United States in accordance with the laws and regulations of the United States governing the manufacture of Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey.
“Today’s agreement between the U.S. and Bolivia will ensure that only Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey produced in the United States according to official U.S. standards may be sold in Bolivia,” said Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Vice President for International Trade Rob Maron. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Office of the United States Trade Representative for working to secure these protections for America’s distinctive spirits — Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey.”
The signing ceremony, which took place at USTR headquarters, involved the exchange of letters detailing the process by which each country will formally recognize each other’s distinctive distilled spirits categories.
Bolivia will grant distinctive product status to Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey, no more than 30 days after the United States publishes a Final Rule to grant distinctive product status to Bolivian Singani.
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Maron added, “Bolivia is now the 44th country to provide this important protection for Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey. This move will ensure the integrity of U.S. products and help Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey exports expand to this growing market.”
Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey are recognized as distinctive U.S. products by major trading partners, including: the European Union (28 countries), Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.
According to the latest data in Euromonitor International, in 2018, “Singani” accounted for nearly half of the total volume of sales in the spirits category in Bolivia. The whiskey category, which is 100 percent imported, accounted for approximately 9 percent of the total volume of spirits sales in 2018. American whiskey accounted for 7 percent of the total whiskey category.