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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 December, 2003, 11:59 GMT
SNP seeks whisky inquiry
Whisky being poured and SNP leader John Swinney
John Swinney: "Broader issues to be examined"
Scottish National Party leader leader John Swinney has urged a Holyrood committee to mount an inquiry into the Scotch whisky industry.

He called on the enterprise and culture committee to study what should be the definitions of single malt, vatted malt, and blends.

The MSPs should also study "the big picture" and take evidence from the industry on what is needed to support its global success, said Mr Swinney.

He made the call on the eve of a meeting in Edinburgh that will try to resolve the row over Diageo's decision to switch its Cardhu brand from a single malt to a mix of malts from several distilleries.

Purists were angered when the company announced plans to sell the whisky in the same style of bottle with the name of the Speyside distillery on the label, claiming this could confuse drinkers into thinking it was still a single malt.

The committee should look at what should form the definition of a single malt, vatted malt, and a blend
John Swinney
The council of the Scotch Whisky Association will meet on Thursday to try to settle the dispute.

Mr Swinney said: "I am confident that the Scotch Whisky Association will make real progress in resolving the debate over Cardhu at its meeting tomorrow, but there are broader issues to be examined.

"The committee should look at what should form the definition of a single malt, vatted malt, and a blend, and by working in partnership with the industry, how we can support the Scotch Whisky Association as it moves to resolve this thorny issue."

He also called for decisions about the future of the industry to be taken in Scotland.

"It is a nonsense that issues which are so fundamentally Scottish and which are so vital to our national interest are taken in London by a Treasury which for years has treated whisky as nothing more than a cash cow," he said.

"The industry's future would be better handled at home, and by working with the industry we can play our part in safeguarding this precious resource."




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SEE ALSO:
Whisky's reputation 'under threat'
30 Nov 03  |  Scotland
'No compromise' in whisky row
19 Nov 03  |  Scotland
'The whisky critics are wrong'
17 Nov 03  |  Scotland
'Progress' in whisky row talks
13 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Icy stand-off in whisky row
07 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Sour taste over whisky switch
27 Oct 03  |  Scotland


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