SWITZERLAND – Global spirits companies and organisations have come together to form the World Spirits Alliance, an international trade association representing the interests of the spirits industry.

Formed in Geneva Switzerland, the alliance brings together the views of spirits companies from all over the world with a common goal to boost the distilled spirits sector.

It will represent the parties’ affairs international organization such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN).

Members include trade associations such as SpiritsEurope, Association of Canadian Distillers and The Scotch Whisky Association and major spirits companies including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Brown-Forman, Rémy Cointreau and Campari.

“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,” said Marie Audren, who will act as secretary general for the WSA.

“Distilled spirits are a vibrant and highly dynamic sector with a unique diversity of products and producers across the world.”

Some of the issues the alliance aims to resolve include elimination of tariff, non-tariff barriers, and discriminatory taxes, while promoting fair, transparent and evidence-based regulations.

WSA also plans to put strategies in place to ensure adequate excise tax structures, proportionate evidence-based public health measures for distilled spirits and initiatives to combat illicit alcohol.

The members have also committed to responsible production, advertising and marketing practices and to encourage responsible consumption of spirits.

“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,” said Rodolfo González González, of Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera, who was elected as the first president of the WSA.

Amrit Kiran Singh (International Spirits & Wines Association of India), who has been named vice president said: “At the same time, in many markets around the world, distilled spirits are heavily taxed and regulated, and we face trade barriers that are only applicable, or applied more excessively, to distilled spirits.

“This situation needs to be reviewed and addressed.”