Food & Drinks

International Feud Erupts Over Kings County Distillery’s “Irish style American whiskey”

A Brooklyn distillery is in hot water this week after labeling its American-made spirit as “Irish-style.”

The Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) claims that the Kings County Distillery’s labeling of its year-old whiskey is misleading to consumers, and served the Brooklyn-based company with a cease-and-desist letter on June 1. The minimalist labeling on the 375 ml bottle states that the spirit is an “Irish style American whiskey.”

The triple-distilled spirit is 45 percent ABV and barrel-aged for one year, according to the now sold-out listing for the whiskey online. According to The Spirits Business, the controversial spirit was first distilled for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration earlier this year. As stated on the Kings County Distillery website, all whiskeys are distilled and created on-site in Brooklyn.

Legally, Irish whiskey must be created in Ireland and barrel-aged for a minimum of four years, but Kings County Distillery argues that the labeling on its whiskey iteration was clear enough to avoid any miscommunications. The IWA claims that the name of the “Irish-style” whiskey could be confused with spirits originating from Ireland.

A June 14 thread on the distillery’s Twitter account, in response to the cease-and-desist letter, states that the Brooklyn whiskey creator would not cease its distribution of the spirit. The company writes that while not legally required by United States law, the labeling goes above industry regulation to note the location where the whiskey was created.

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A letter sent from the distillery to IWA, posted to Twitter, states that the label had been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau twice prior to the cease-and-desist letter.


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