Protect American Brandy & American Rum

AMBRU Campaign stands for American Brandy and American Rum Campaign. Our goal is to protect and brand American spirits in global markets as US signature products.

Commercial distilling of high quality brandies and rum in North America dates back to 16321634 for brandy and 1648 for rum out dating Scotland’s first legal distillery of 1690 of more than 50 years and Barbados first rum distillery opening in 1703.

Bourbon is the signature spirit of North America, though American brandy and American rum, have an yet unmarked historic importance for America’s distilling heritage, and without them, North America may not have become independent in 1776.

We, at AMBRU believe that American brandy and American rum can repeat the global success story of bourbon, and that there are good reasons why Georgia should take the lead in this campaign.

Why Georgia should take leadership for AMBRU Campaign

In 1734/1735 until 1742 the British Parliament passed an act prohibiting the importation of rum and brandies into the colony of Georgia. It was the first law of its kind – and Georgia was the first colony to experience prohibition.

Georgia’s settlers reacted, and instead of importing rum and brandies, Georgia became known for likely the first “illegal” stills ever operated in America producing brandies and rum instead of importing them. Meaning, Georgia’s “Spirit Independence day” from Great Britain started about 40 years earlier than the Declaration of Independence was written. And, it was all about brandy and rum and not yet bourbon.

Today, Georgia is growing sugar cane in the Southern coastal plains, and it is known for its beautiful apple orchards and vineyards at the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountains. Gilmer County in North Georgia has more vineyards East of Texas and South of Virginia than any other county – becoming the “East-Coast Napa Valley“. Atlanta is the ideal touristic starting point for an “American Brandy Trail” and “American Rum Trail” connecting distilleries with the rich history of the South, enjoying Southern hospitality, and connecting the gorgeous coastal areas with the pristine mountainous regions of the Appalachians. 

American brandy and American rum can create an economic success story for Georgia, as bourbon did for Kentucky.

Caroline Porsiel, founding member AMBRU Campaign

Historic Mission & Economic Values

Some may ask whether it really makes a difference to correct the perception of distilling history by claiming American brandy and American rum as distinct and historically unique products of the United States of America?

As a matter of fact, it does historically and economically! Creating of so called GI’s (Geographical Indicators) is a value proposition, it is the first step to brand and protect quality products globally that have been historically developed in a certain region of the world. Customers need to be able to differentiate an “original” product from a “copy product” – for example all bourbon must be produced in the United States following certain quality standards. It secures the quality of bourbon and protects the producers and consumers from unfair pricing and quality pressures due to cheaply copied products.

More about geographical indicators and their financial impacts 

AMBRU Vision

Our goal is to protect American brandy and American rum as quality signature products for the United States of America as these products have historical importance for our country, and are distinct products  aged in North American oak barrels giving these products a unique taste of remarkable quality made in USA, unlike no other products  worldwide.


Worldwide Protected Designation of Origins

The United States of America has to date protected the following geographical categories for whiskey made within its borders: 1964 bourbon, 2013 Tennessee Whiskey, 2019 Missouri Bourbon, and 2021 Indiana Rye Whiskey.

We listed in the questions below some countries that are protecting products of geographic origin.


Economical factsheet Georgia, USA

  • 45,830 jobs supported by spirit industry
  • 2019 GDP impact $3,578,186,000
  • 2019 State Export volume $208,829
  • Allowing Distilled Spirits Tastings at Retail Location and Sunday Sales, and On-Premise Retailers (Restaurants/Bars) to Sell Cocktails To-Go


Interesting Questions

Is American brandy protected in global markets as a signature quality product?

No, American brandy is not protected at this point. Brandy is a general spirits category without a designated protection for US quality products. 

If the term “brandy” appears alone on a label it stands for “grape brandy”, other fruits need to be named on the label. 

Which brandies from other countries are protected geographically?

Examples for geographically protected brandy products from other countries are i.e.

  • Pisco (Pisco is a protected Peruvian grape brandy. In 1991 the country of Peru was awarded the rights to protect and regulate its production.)
  • Cognac (Cognac is a protected French grape brandy from Cognac region in France. It is protected as a geographical indication under EU law since 1989.)
  • Armagnac (Armagnac is a protected French grape brandy from Armagnac region in France. It obtained its status as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in 1936 under French law.)
  • Calvados (Calvados is a protected French apple brandy from the Calvados region in France. In 1942 calvados became officially a protected name under the French appellation contrôlée regulations. Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) is the French equivalent to EU’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).)
  • Brandy de Jerez (Brandy de Jerez has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). It must be produced in the Spanish province of Jerez, Andalusia, Spain.)  

Read more about geographical indicators and trademark protection.


Is American rum protected in global markets as a signature quality product?

No, American rum is not protected at this point. Rum is a general spirits category without a designated protection for US quality products. 

Do other countries have protected geographical rum designations?

Some countries have protected rum products geographically, or are in the process of doing so, among these are i.e.


  • Cachaça (Cachaça is a protected type of Brazilian rum, recognized by the US since 2013.)
  •  Rhum agricole (Rhum agricole is a protected type of locally produced rum under French law for the French Caribbean territories, signed by the AOC  (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in 1996.)
  • Demerara Rum (Demerara Rum is a protected GI, and must be originating from Demerara, Guyana.)
  • Jamaica Rum, and Jamaica Jerk Rum (Jamaica Rum, and Jamaica Jerk Rum are protected GI’s from Jamaica and must be originating in Jamaica.)
  • Barbados Rum in preparation (Barbados is currently trying to establish a Geographical Indicator for Barbados Rum; to build a stronger value proposition globally.) 

Read more about EU Protected Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée),and Geographical Indicators (GI).

Why is the geographical protection so confusing: GI, PDI, AOC...?

This may be confusing as many countries have own legal standards, and so have trade unions, and international trade standards. We have summarized the most important standards here.

What is the advantage of geographical protection for consumers?

The overall sense of protecting a product geographically is to secure quality standards, and originality of a product produced in a certain region of the world. It prevents that lower quality products from other global regions can brand as the same products, whereas these products still can be sold but have to use a different trade name than the geographically designated trade name. One example for this is bourbon, it has to be produced in the United States of America and needs to fullfill certain designated quality standards to be named bourbon. 

News & Updates

Press Release

The AMBRU Campaign Sheds Light on the Historical value of American Brandy and Rum and How Georgia Can Lead the Way in Reshaping its History

Map of Atlanta, Georgia by Albert Ruger, 1871. Albert Ruger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Protecting Our Heritage

Georgia has played a historically significant role in the spirits industry, and connecting Atlanta’s business hub with local craft distilling experience and Georgia’s local agritourism with vineyards and orchards all over the State means to secure and create local jobs in Georgia and the United States of America.

University Society, New York, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

American Rum's Birthright

The distilling industry of American Rum became early colonial New England’s largest and most prosperous industry. For a period of time, American Rum joined gold as an accepted currency. The Molasses Act of 1733 and the following Sugar Act 1764 underline the historic importance of this commodity that paved the way for American Independence.

Covers area north from Virginia to Greenland and west to Lake Erie.The original 1632 map: Samuel de Champlain. This 1850 copy: "Reduced from the original", reduced by David Vaughan, engraved by Augustus Tolle. The original 1632 map: Samuel de Champlain. This 1850 copy: "Reduced from the original", reduced by David Vaughan, engraved by Augustus Tolle. This image is available from the New York Public Library's Digital Library under the digital ID c3c6b360-f8c2-0132-54d4-58d385a7bbd0: From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Commercial Distilling

The first distilling activities in North America  for private needs (non commercial) were established as early as settlers were sent to the New World in 1620, whereas commercial distilling can be proved as early as 1632, outrunning the first legal Scottish distillery by more than 50 years,.

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Upcoming Events

AMBRU Campaign Presentations.

Atlanta, GA – July

We are currently presenting AMBRU Campaign to politicians in Georgia, USA. If you are interested in getting more information, please let us know. 

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