Updated Sept. 3, 2021
In the 1990s, Mariah Carey’s hit single "All I Want for Christmas Is You" became the unofficial holiday-season anthem of every mall in America. (And the song has withstood the test of time far better than the malls.) Now the Grammy-winning superstar is hoping to hook us on a new holiday tradition: Black Irish, her new Irish cream liqueur.
"I have been putting my heart into this project for almost two years and I am so excited to finally share this news," Carey said in a statement. "I wanted to create something that embodies the holidays and gives everyone a reason to celebrate year-round, and I really think we have done that with Black Irish."
Black Irish is an ode to Carey's Irish mother and Black-Venezuelan father, and comes in three flavors: original Irish cream, salted caramel and white chocolate. The bottles are sold in 750ml ($30) and 50ml sizes ($4).
"Starting with the quality of the liquid and the backing of Mariah Carey, the queen of Christmas, Black Irish is sure to be a disruptor in the Irish cream category, especially around the holidays," said Scott Lammert of Republic National Distributing Company, which is handling Black Irish’s distribution. "We are excited to represent the brand and introduce it to new consumers."
But Carey's European fans might not get their Christmas wish: According to filings at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Black Irish and a group of Irish drinks entrepreneurs have been locked in a year-long trademark dispute. The filings show that the four founders of Dublin-based Darker Still Spirits Company, which produces an Irish whiskey by the same name in Europe, registered it in 2015 and launched the whiskey in June 2020.
On Aug. 25, Darker Still co-founder Dave Phelan released a statement regarding the Black Irish feud. "Myself and my partners in Darker Still are collective veterans of the Irish drinks industry, and it is unprecedented that we are defending our position against a U.S. company, within an Irish industry that we have helped support for over 30 years," Phelan wrote. "What is certain is that we will continue fighting any trademark objection whilst also engaging with the European Commission in regards to specific legalities surrounding Irish cream production. This will provide clarity on the matter and resolve an unfortunate situation, not of our making."
A spokesperson for Carey's Black Irish brand responded Sept. 3, telling Wine Spectator that Darker Still's trademark in the E.U. may be revoked. "At this time, the [European Union trademark], which is in name of Darker Still Spirits Company, is currently subject to a cancellation action before the EUIPO for non-use, and those proceedings before the EUIPO are ongoing."
No need to ask what Mariah Carey would like for Christmas this year …
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