Geographic Indications and International Trade (GIANT)

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I. Identification

1. The Issue

2. Description

Dropping the "e " from whiskey is traditionally British and is used in the spelling of Canadian whisky. Made only in Canada, this distilled blend of rye, corn, wheat and barley is smoother and lighter than its cousins, rye and bourbon. Canadian whisky gets its flavor primarily from fermented corn and rye, which are blended.

The process also uses rye malt and barley malt. The grains and malt are ground separately and are put into different meal bins. The malt goes into a malt slurry tank with water to form malt slurry. The grain meal goes into a cooker with water to form mash. The malt slurry is then added into the mash cooker for fermentation. The mash is pumped through cooling pipes to fermenters that contain yeast, where it ferments for 3-5 days. It is then pumped to and held temporarily in a beer well, then to a whisky still. In the still, the mash flows down "a zigzag fashion over horizontal plates spaced evenly down the length of the still." Steam is injected near the base of the still and passes through small perforations in the horizontal plates as it rises, evaporating the alcohol from the mash, which then condenses on the top of the still into new whisky.

The new whisky is redistilled through an extraction column, rectifying column and barbet unit in order to purify it. This makes Canadian Whisky one of the lightest in the world. The two flavoring rye grain whiskies go through the column still at a lower alcohol strength, and are further refined in a copper pot still, to enhance their flavor.

Government excise and company representatives then check the new whiskies for quality, quantity and proof strength. The three whiskies are blended in large tanks, and then are mixed with water to reduce strength. The whisky is pumped into charred white oak barrels for a minimum of three years, but usually about 6 years. In order to avoid a heavy wood flavor, the liquid is aged in barrels that have already been used to age other whisky.

The barrels are stored in climate-controlled cells in a warehouse. The matured whiskies are blended to ensure uniformity and are diluted with water again to reduce strength. A panel then tests the whisky for any variations in flavor, color and bouquet to ensure standards. The whiskey is bright gold, smells like almonds and spice, and tastes like fruit and caramel with a hint of oak. The whiskey is again filtered to remove the charcoal sediment it picked up in aging, tested once more, and then bottled.

Sources: Canadian Club -,
The agreement gives Canadian wine producers better access to the EU market. "The EU has also granted Canadian producers the exclusive right to use the term "rye whiskey".
In 2002, EU countries exported $440 million in wine to Canada, with France totaling more than one-half.

Warren Giles, Bloomberg News, "EU Trade Minister Vows 'Offensive' on Subsidies", Washington Post, July 7, 2003, p. A18.

3. Related Cases


4. Author and Date: Suzan Herzeg, Bryan Rund and Jim Lee

II. Legal Clusters

5. Discourse and Status: Agreement and InProgress

6. Forum and Scope: US and Multilateral

7. Decision Breadth: NAFTA and EU (18)

8. Legal Standing: Treaty

III. Geographic Clusters

9. Geographic Locations

a. Geographic Domain: North America

b. Geographic Site: Eastern North America

c. Geographic Impact: US

10. Sub-National Factors:

11. Type of Habitat: Temperate

IV. Trade Clusters

12. Type of Measure: Culture

13. Direct v. Indirect Impacts: Indirect

14. Relation of Trade Measure to Environmental Impact

a. Directly Related to Product: Yes, Spirits

b. Indirectly Related to Product: No

c. Not Related to Product: No

d. Related to Process: Yes, Culture

15. Trade Product Identification: Kentucky Bourbon

16. Economic Data

17. Impact of Trade Restriction: Ban

18. Industry Sector: Food (and Drink)

19. Exporters and Importers: US and many

V. Environment Clusters

20. Environmental Problem Type: Culture

21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species




22. Resource Impact and Effect: High and Regulation

23. Urgency and Lifetime: High and 100s of years

24. Substitutes: Like Products

VI. Other Factors

25. Culture: Yes

26. Trans-Boundary Issues: No

27. Rights: Yes

28. Relevant Literature