July 30, 2015 – Just two weeks before France’s Glann ar Mor Distillery was scheduled to close in a dispute with French officials over proposed legal standards for “Breton Whisky,” the Donnay family has decided to keep the distillery open after all. As reported last month on WhiskyCast, Jean and Martine Donnay objected to the technical specifications being submitted to European Union officials as part of the protected geographical indicator status sought for “Breton Whisky.” The Donnays had maintained that the specifications would not allow them to produce the whiskies they make at Glann ar Mor, and being forced to remove all references to Brittany and “Breton Whisky” from their bottles would make it economically impossible to stay in business.
While they still object to the current standards, the Donnays said in a statement Wednesday that French officials are willing to revisit the specifications. The Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) manages appellation designations throughout France, and according to the statement, the agency’s general manager has indicated that the technical standards can still be amended – after previously telling them that no changes would be possible. While there is no guarantee that the Donnays will be successful in getting the changes they seek, they say the possibility is promising enough that they will hold off on closing the distillery August 15 as originally planned. However, they do plan to reduce staffing from six employees to four for the present time.
Jean Donnay has proposed what he calls in the statement a “debate” with INAO officials to discuss the “Whisky Breton” designation. No date for that discussion has been set.