In Chile’s Central Valley there was also a tradition of crafting artisanal spirits, which
were usually distilled from pomace and wine residues, while piscos were made from
aromatic white wines. In order to improve their sales, some merchants from Santiago,
Valparaiso and Concepción, decided to disguise the local spirits with the famous
name pisco, which generated a series of controversies and conflicts, which are part
of the “Pisco War”. Thus, at the 1872 Exhibition in Santiago, “piscos” were presented
from various places such as Santiago, Chillán, San Felipe and Limache.
The producers of Norte Chico, through their representatives in the Chilean parliament,
managed to make their voices heard and transmit their aspirations before the
National State. The topic was discussed at the highest level. For many years, the
Chilean government gathered information to seek a solution to the problem.
Finally, on May 15, 1931, then-President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo issued decree No.
181, delivering the Pisco Designation of Origin to the “brandy produced and bottled,
in consumption units, within the country’s III and IV regions, made by wine distillation
from the vine varieties, determined by Decree No. 521, planted in these regions”.
The central argument of decree 181 was the prestige and fame that the producers of
Norte Chico had achieved, thanks to the eort to produce higher quality products
over the years. Universal Exhibitions and trademark registrations helped to strengthen
this fame, which facilitated the compilation of enough backgrounds to inform
the limitation of pisco as Designation of Origin. From then on, only the name of pisco
can be used for spirits made in the valleys of Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui, Limarí and later
This is the story of how the first Designation of Origin of America was born.