Bolivia to Recognize Bourbon as US Only

Last week, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Karen Longaric signed an agreement to officially recognize each countries native distilled spirits.

I know what many people will say after reading that: “Why, the 1964 Congressional resolution gives bourbon a concrete stronghold on its American origins.” While this is true, Free Trade Agreements solidify this and make it more difficult for other countries to make / label spirits bourbon. In theory, a country without an FTA could label something bourbon, albeit there are other measures the US producers can take to stop them–they’re just way more costly and are not as guaranteed as treaty.

With this new Bolivian 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, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

“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 in a statement.  “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.”

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, a press release said.

Bolivia is the 44th country to provide protection for Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey.

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, a press release said. 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.

Sounds like I need to take a trip to Bolivia and pick up some Singani.

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