Poteen: Irish Moonshine

Poteen has been around so long it was banned in 1661. But still, it has not been around long enough to have its own class/type. TTB has hundreds of categories (including the obscure such as diluted rum and dried brandy) but classified Knockeen Hills with “other specialties & proprietaries” rather than in its own category. Poteen is also known as Potcheen and is traditionally made in Ireland, at a high alcohol content. The name is short for the pot (“pota” in Irish) in which it is distilled. Poteen is usually made from barley or potatoes and this one is Grain Neutral Spirits with Natural Flavors, at 110 proof. The Irish Government has frowned on Poteen for many centuries (branding it as “moonshine,” as described on the back label here). But Ireland began allowing Poteen exports in 1989, domestic sale in 1997, and sought appellation status for Poteen in 2008. The back label says:

Poteen … has been brewed as Irish strong moonshine for several centuries … Butler’s Irish book published in 1660 claimed that “It enlighteneth ye heart, casts off melancholy, keeps back old age and breaketh ye wind.”

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One Response to “Poteen: Irish Moonshine”

  1. April 21st, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Leading Poteen Producer says:

    Just read your firm’s blog. First Class and excellent graphics!

    One minor international legal point.

    The sentence that ends ‘sought appellation status for Poteen in 2008,’ would more accurately, reflect the precise current international legal position, if was amended to: ‘sought appellation status for Irish Poteen in 2008. Geographical Indicative Status was then approved in 2008 by the World Trade Organisation and the EU Council and Parliament.’

    ‘Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/8’

    For reference to support this statement, please view the following URL: http://www.mee.government.bg/ind/doc/LexUriServ.pdf (Please see page L 39/54 10th Geographical Indication Product Listed ‘Irish Poteen/Irish Poitín’.

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