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International spirits industry unites behind new global body

Published:  10 July, 2019

Many of the world’s leading spirits producers have partnered to create a new global organisation for the industry, it was announced in Geneva yesterday.

The World Spirits Alliance (WSA) brings together producers and producer organisations to create an international trade association to represent the views and interests of the sector worldwide, with Diageo, Pernod Ricard and the Scotch Whisky Association just some of its members.

In particular, the WSA will speak for the sector in dealings with supra-national bodies such as the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations.

The WSA will pursue the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers and discriminatory taxes, and campaign for evidence-based regulation, adequate excise tax structures and ambitious strategies to combat illicit alcohol.

Marie Audren, the first secretary general of the WSA, said: “Many of us have been working together for nearly two decades, hence setting up a formal trade association to act as a united global voice on the integrity and social responsibility of our spirits industry is a natural and important step forward. Distilled spirits are a vibrant and highly dynamic sector with a unique diversity of products and producers across the world.”

Rodolfo González González, from the Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera, who has been elected as first the WSA’s first president, said: “The aims of the WSA are to create a common platform for exchange and have a representative body that will allow us to comment on issues of global relevance, particularly in the areas of trade and regulatory policy, and help develop a positive environment for the sustainable success of the sector.”

Producers who have joined the fledgling organisation include Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman and Cointreau. Producer bodies include the Scotch Whisky Association, the Japanese Spirits Liquor Makers Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of United States.