Pisco Brandy from Peru or Chile? Two South American nations fight over liquor’s name in India

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Published: July 26, 2019 3:54:27 PM

What Rosogulla is to Bengal and Orissa, Pisco brandy is to Peru and Chile. And the fight is surely giving a high to both the two countries, for none, seems to want to budge.

The GI Registry office in India passed an order renaming the GI as “Peruvian Pisco” and issued a certificate of registration. (Photo: Thinkstock Images)

What Rosogulla is to Bengal and Orissa, Pisco brandy is to Peru and Chile. And the fight is surely giving a high to both the two countries, for none, seems to want to budge.

So the South American nations have ended up in Indian courts as both have locked horns in the country over GI (Geographical Indications) tag on ‘Pisco’ brandy.

A GI tag is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. After the GI protection is granted, then as per rules no other producer can use the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

The tag which is initially granted for a period of ten years can be renewed indefinitely. Typically, a GI tag conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin. When Peru was seeking GI tag in India for ‘Pisco’ brandy, Chile opposed the move as the same product with the same name is being sold in their country.

The GI Registry office in India passed an order renaming the GI as “Peruvian Pisco” and issued a certificate of registration.

But Peru was not keen to settle for the same. For, against this order, Peru filed an appeal before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) as they wanted the tag as “Pisco” only. The IPAB after hearing the case accepted the appeal of Peru and accordingly stated that the mark of the appellant “Pisco” is eligible for registration.

And now, it is Chile’s turn to show their discontent. According to a top diplomat, Chile has raised opposition on this and plans are afoot to approach High Court as IPAB’s order can only be challenged in a High Court.

Talking to Financial Express Online the top diplomat said that “Pisco is being produced in the Atacama and the Coquimbo regions in the north since the 16th century. Every year the production of Pisco touches thirty-six million liters. A proposal was made to Peru that the two countries should sell Pisco in India together. But that has not been accepted.”

“We are compliant with Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as it is recognized by WTO. And we meet all the requisites,” the diplomat said. The government of Chile is planning to take this up legally here in India.

“Currently, we are in talks for further expansion of the India-Chile PTA. We have asked the Indian side to include Pisco in the second round of expansion of the India-Chile PTA. A request has been made to include a new chapter on wines and spirits and Pisco.”

Award of GI tag gives protection to a producer of those genuine products, which commands premium pricing in the domestic and international markets. Understandably, both want to call the shots!

Pisco from Chile

According to a top Chilean diplomat the Pisco from his country received its Denomination of Origin in 1931. And it can be made in two specific regions of the country — the Atacama and the Coquimbo regions in the north. 90% of the Pisco produced in Chile is consumed locally, which hardly leaves enough to be sold outside.

Pisco From Peru

Pisco is the national drink of Peru, a spirit made from only certain varieties of grapes, which are fermented to wine and then distilled. The first reports of the production of this grape spirit can be traced back to the year 1,613. According to the Embassy of Peru in India, today, Pisco is only produced in the coast of Peru in the regions of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna with the aim of protecting its geographical indication and exported to more than 19 markets in Europe, North America, and Asia.

The South American nation celebrates National Pisco Day annually on the fourth Sunday of every July. This year India is the center of Pisco celebrations, after the IPAB of India ruled that Pisco is undoubtedly a denomination of origin exclusively from Peru last November.

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