Yesterday, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk and Brazilian Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel signed an agreement to officially recognize each country's native distilled spirits products. The Distilled Spirits Council called it “an historic event that is sure to contribute to further acceleration of trade in distilled spirits between the two countries.”
The signing ceremony, which took place at USTR headquarters, involved an exchange of letters detailing the process by which each country will formally recognize its counterpart's distinctive distilled spirits categories; Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey by Brazil and Cachaça by the U.S.
“This is a historic day for exporters of Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey to Brazil, which is a rapidly growing market for American Whiskeys,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy. He noted that U.S. whiskey exports to Brazil shot up 519% from 2001 to 2011, growing from $517,000 to $3.2 million.
“Brazilians are rapidly acquiring a taste for the finest American whiskeys, and today’s agreement—when implemented—will ensure the integrity and authenticity of these world class drinks,” Cressy added.
Under the agreement, the United States government will begin its process seeking public comments regarding recognizing Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil. Once a final rule is issued by the Treasury Department’s Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), formally recognizing Cachaça, Brazil will then work to complete its regulatory process within a set timeframe to officially recognize Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the United States.
“Formal recognition for Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey producers is critical because it will ensure that only those products produced in accordance with strict U.S. standards will be permitted for sale in the Brazilian market. We wish to thank USTR and TTB staff, in particular, for their tireless efforts over the past several years to secure this important agreement,” Cressy concluded.
So if any of you micro-distillers were planning to make domestic Cachaça, too bad. It's about to become illegal.