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Of Brandy and Brands

Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma Email Compiled/Written by Murali Kamma
September 2013
Of Brandy and Brands

What do Cognac, Scotch Whiskey, Champagne, Tequila, Porto, Douro, Napa Valley, and Prosciutto di Parma have in common?

They all have a GI (Geographical Indications) tag in India, meaning the owner’s commercial rights are protected. The GI registry, established in India a decade ago, currently has a list of 193 protected brand names, of which only those mentioned above have a foreign origin. The rest—like Darjeeling tea, the first product to get a GI tag—originated in various regions of India. Banaras brocades and saris, Toda embroidery, Lucknow zardozi, Bangalore blue grapes, and Agra dhurrie are some of the more recent ones to get a GI tag. It’s easy to see why liquor dominates among the foreign brands seeking a foothold in India. The wine market there is growing at a yearly rate of 20 to 30 percent. “Of the 227 applications pending registration before the GI Registry Office, 125 are from the European Union, mostly wine and spirit brands,” points out The Economic Times. The remaining 102 applications are from different states within India.

Speaking of brands, the ungainly but sturdy Ambassador—one of India’s most durable vehicles—was declared the world’s best taxi in 2013 at the World of Top Gear motor show in Beaulieu, home to the U.K.’s National Motor Museum. Not a bad 65th birthday for the good old Amby, which got its start as a taxi in 1948. And just last year, in CNN Travel’s list of the world’s 10 greatest taxis, India’s Ambassador ranked fourth.

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