Irish whiskey has been awarded legal protection - or "geographic indication status" - in India.

This means that only whiskey produced here can carry the "Irish whiskey" label in the Indian market.

India is the biggest market in the world for whiskey with 2.3 billion bottles of the spirit sold there last year.

Most of it is domestically produced, but this indicator will give Irish whiskey some protective edge, particularly in the premium end of the market.

Sales of Irish whiskey in the Indian market doubled last year to 34,000 cases with plenty of scope given the growth in the middle classes there.

Carleen Madigan, legal advisor to Drinks Ireland/the Irish Whiskey Association, said that securing the geographic indication status for Irish whiskey in India is another landmark for the category. 

"Like similar registrations achieved earlier in the year in Australia and South Africa, this is another major success in our efforts to protect the integrity of Irish whiskey on a worldwide basis," Ms Madigan said.

"We will now be able to take much tougher enforcement action against fake Irish whiskey products on sale in India," she added.