Peru celebrated Sunday Pisco Day promising to improve the quality of the grape distilled alcohol, but above all defend its domestic origin form neighboring Chile, which also claims such a title. The dispute has reached the World Organization of Intellectual Property.
Pisco which in local Indian quechua means "little bird" takes it name from the port 300 kilometers north of Lima from where in Spanish colonial times the drink was shipped to Europe and other South American possessions. "There are ample testimonies dating back to the XVI century which indicate the word is of Peruvian quechua origin", said Johnny Schuller head of the Peruvian Pisco Samplers friendship. Other documents show that the port of Pisco was founded at the end of 1590, according to writings from Huaman Poma de Ayala, added Schuller. The endless debate surrounding Pisco again hit the news this week when Peruvian political leader and Tourism minister Mercedes Aráz suggested that Peru could share the popular drink's name with Chile. "Chile has displaced the United States as the top purchaser our pisco. We want the United States to accept pisco's origin as being from Peru. But, if necessary, we'll consider sharing the title with Chile," Aráz said. His comments elicited howls of protest from people across Peru. In response to the outcry, Aráz took back the proposal hours later. "I am a huge defender of pisco. Pisco is genuinely Peruvian. Sharing the title is not our goal." "Pisco Day" has been celebrated in Pery for over 14 years and since 2003 the date chosen in the fourth Sunday of July. Schuller recalled that for the second year running Peru was awarded the gold medal to spirits in the world contest held in Brussels. This year's Peruvian Pisco crop in areas with origin denomination is estimated in 4.5 million liters, revealed Luis Guerrero chairman of the Pisco National Committee.