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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 02:36 GMT
Whisky rules 'should become law'
The Cardhu row has been resolved
New rules being drawn up for Scotch whisky brands should be enshrined in law, according to a leading distiller.

The industry has agreed to produce definitions for different sectors following the row over changes to the Cardhu malt.

Drinks giant Diageo has also agreed to change the packaging of the whisky, which the company now describes as a pure malt rather than a single malt.

Rival distiller William Grant & Sons has welcomed the moves.

Deputy group managing director Tony Hunt said he was "absolutely delighted" that the rules were going to be rewritten.

"I believe that when these rules are in place the single malt whisky distillers will do everything they can to comply with the rules.

'Sense of urgency'

"It is great news for the industry, it is great news for the single malt category and it is great news for consumers, because they know that when they buy a bottle of single malt they are getting what they should be getting," he told BBC News Online Scotland.

He said there was a "sense of urgency" behind the project.

And he said: "We are going to campaign to have these rules enshrined in British law so that we never have any repetition of the problems we have had in the previous months."

I think this category (single malt) is very important as being the flagship of the industry
Tony Hunt
William Grant & Sons

The Cardhu row broke out after Diageo reached capacity at its Speyside distillery.

The company was unable to meet the demand prompted by soaring sales of the single malt.

It decided to change the process and use a combination of single malts, changing the status of the whisky from a single malt to a "pure" malt.

Other distillers were angry that Diageo was continuing to use the name Cardhu while only changing one word on the label.

An agreement was reached at a meeting of the Scotch Whisky Association under which Diageo will continue to use the name Cardhu.

However, the labelling and packaging will be changed from brown to green and the company has promised not to make any similar changes to any of its other single malts

No antagonism

Promotional campaigns will also be run to explain the nature of the new product.

Mr Hunt said there had never been any antagonism towards Diageo.

"All we have been concerned about is the single malt category, partly because we have a vested interest in it with Glenfiddich and The Balvenie and partly because I think this category is very important as being the flagship of the industry," he said.

And he acknowledged that the row had actually helped increase awareness of single malts.

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