Saturday, November 9th 2013 - 03:14 UTC

Peru is the original home of Pisco, says EU; grief in Chile

Peru has scored a significant victory in the age-old battle with Chile over the origin of the two countries’ most popular liquor, with the European Commission recognizing the former as the original home of pisco

Chileans distilleries will not be deprived the right to export the liquor by the name pisco, a word which signifies “bird” in the Quechan language

 The decision establishes the Peruvian village of Pisco as the geographical origin of the drink and will thus protect the country’s right to claim its provenance in the European market. Peru will additionally benefit from “immediate protection within the EU market,” according to a press release by the Peruvian Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday. Nonetheless, Chileans distilleries will not be deprived the right to export the liquor by the name pisco, a word which signifies “bird” in the Quechan language.

The assertion on the Peruvian side of the conflict, is that the spirit derives from the port city of the same name, 143 miles south-east of Lima, which has stood since pre-Hispanic times.

A younger homonymous village to that found in Peru can be found in the Chilean region of Coquimbo — the country’s biggest pisco producer — in which a law-decree in 1936 changed the locality of La Union’s name to Pisco Elqui in bid to claim globally accepted origin rights for the grape-based drink.

The notorious cocktail pisco sour, made with pisco, lemon juice and ice in its most basic form, is also in the midst of the historical struggle between the two countries, with both Peru and Chile claiming the credit for its invention.

Unlike its companion piscola, a mix of pisco, cola and ice, the “sour” version is widely consumed and cherished in both countries, although one version of events has that the drink was coined by U.S. American Victor Morris in his bar in Lima during the 1920s. The first appearance of the term “pisco sour” in Chile was in fact in a 1924 advertisement by Morris himself in the Valparaíso weekly magazine South Pacific Mail.

Chilean pisco production, which involves distilling grape juice in copper pot stills, exceeded 20 million liters in 2011, while Peru produced little more than seven million liters in 2012.

The main international buyer of Chilean pisco — whose exports amounted to approximately 2.9 million dollars in 2012 — is currently France. Yearly exports to the country leapt in 2012 from less than 8,000 liters to more than 170,000 liters in the course of 12 months, representing 26% of Chile’s international pisco sales. The United States, Argentina and Russia are the next largest importers, while European states Germany, Spain and Poland figure among the top ten.

Chile is the second main importer of Peruvian pisco, with the country accounting for more than a quarter of Peru’s foreign sales for the first half of 2013. The U.S. is Peru’s main consumer and accounts for over 60 percent of the country’s income from pisco exports, which was more than US$5 million in 2012. In the same year Colombia, the United Kingdom and Germany followed Chile as the biggest buyers of Peruvian pisco, with France and Spain also appearing in the top ten.

By Mimi Yagoub   - The Santiago Times

12 comments Feed

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1 Think (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 07:41 am Report abuse
Article says....:
“Peru is the original home of Pisco, says EU…..........; grief in Chile”

I say...:
I would recommend my Shilean hermanitos to drown their grief with a Bolivian Coca Pisco Sour, (Yungueño style, preferably)......
Make it to…..................…, they are quite addictive ;-)
2 Anglotino (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 11:36 am Report abuse
Urgh my skin crawl.....

Hermanitos indeed.
3 Math (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 12:48 pm Report abuse
I'll still have to try it. :)
4 ElaineB (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 01:05 pm Report abuse
I rather like a Pisco Sour. What I cannot comprehend it the popularity of Piscola to which some people in Chile also add Red Bull. What is that all about?
5 Condorito (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 07:32 pm Report abuse
I had heard nothing of this news item until seeing this here on MP.

Elqui province is my home and I have no grief about this ruling.
I have always understood that pisco is Peruvian. As the article correctly says, we changed the name of a town in order to strengthen our claim to the drink. It's like our primitos changing everything to Malvinas this and Malvinas that. You can say it over and over again but you can't change history.

@Elaine,
It is a stage (budget)you go through. When I was student age, Piscola was my beverage of choice. Just a whiff of it now makes me feel ill. Lately I've gone off the Piscosour too. Too much sugar. A chilled Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda valley makes a better aperitif for me.

But I haven't abandoned Pisco altogether, provided it is one of the few aged piscos, I enjoy it neat with ice on a summers evening.
6 Think (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 08:12 pm Report abuse
(5) Condorito
You say…:
“I had heard nothing of this news item until seeing this here on MP.”

I say…:
Neither had I….
What would we do without MercoPress informing us about the relevant news of our areas, huhhhhh?

Anyhow...., for anybody interested, here’s the formula for a good Coca Sour…:
3 Oz. of Pisco infused with Coca leaves *.
1 Oz. of fresh lime Juice.
1 Oz. of simple syrup.
1 Oz. of egg white.

Shake vigorously all ingredients in a shaker with plenty of ice for about 10 seconds…
Strain into a chilled 10 Oz. old fashioned glass…
Decorate with a baby Coca leaf on top…
Enjoy…

* Important note:
The dry Coca leaves (preferably from Quillabamba ;-) should infuse for at least one week on a good quality Pisco Quebranta….
7 The Chilean perspective (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 11:07 pm Report abuse
One thing that I've never understood is how HORRIBLE tasting liquors such as Pisco or Pinga from Brazil are drunk by anyone when you have others available that are so much superior in taste and after effects. For example piscola tastes like coke mixed up with window cleaner, it's disgusting. If you have a Jack Daniels and coke and then your buddy buys you a piscola, well you almost feel like vomiting. It's fair enough to say that in the old days back in the farm you made this crap and you drunk it because you had no other choice, but today you have Fine Scotch whiskeys, super crisp quadrupled distilled Vodka, excellent Bourbons, Rums and more. No need to drink Pisco, Grapa or Pinga.
8 Think (#) Nov 09th, 2013 - 11:59 pm Report abuse
(7) The Chilean perspective

Ignorant!!!
9 BOTINHO (#) Nov 10th, 2013 - 02:24 am Report abuse
Actually it is relevant news.

Pisco technically a brandy, is the largest selling brandy in the world. It is Peruvian in origin, and it is popular outside of LATAM, including North America and Europe.

Just being helpful, but I suggest anyone enjoying single grain try sipping aged Weber Haus Premium Cachaça sometime. A far cry from the basic 51 for Caipirinhas.
10 Think (#) Nov 10th, 2013 - 03:47 am Report abuse
Wooooooooooow!!!

First time Mr. BORHINO says anything of interest...
Must be the Weber Haus Cachaça...
Skål
11 MKN567 (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 01:14 am Report abuse
(7) The Chilean Perspective

There are many real reasons for the pisco of old being poor in quality, at least in Peru - earthquakes, the removal of the jesuits, socialist seizure and re-parceling of land.
But times have changed. in 2012 Brussell's international wine and spirit competition, Tabernero Pisco beat out the best spirits to take the gold.
I don't doubt that your opinion of pisco comes from your experience, but consider that you may have been drinking the jack daniels or jose cuervo of Piscos.
Real pisco made to (peruvian) formula is the purest distillation of the grape. It's unadulterated and retains aspects of the body, nose, legs of its varietal of grape.
It's very complex and varied and finally getting the recognition it deserves.
12 Think (#) Nov 12th, 2013 - 09:02 pm Report abuse
(11) MKN567

Savant ;-)

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