Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Whisky industry faces rule change

Bottles of whisky
The new rules will come into force on 23 November

New rules outlawing the bottling of single malt whiskies outside Scotland are to be introduced as part of a drive to protect the industry and consumers.

They are part of a number of regulations which were announced by Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

The changes, which will come into force on 23 November, will also ban the use of the term "pure malt" and introduce improved labelling of products.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) called it landmark legislation.

Speaking at a Scotland Office food and drink seminar in Edinburgh, Mr Murphy said the regulations introduced "a stronger legal framework to protect one of our most cherished products".

The new labelling rules provide a unique opportunity to promote consumer understanding of Scotch worldwide
Gavin Hewitt
Scotch Whisky Association

He added: "It is vital that we protect our key industries.

"We cannot allow others to trade off our good name and to pass off inferior whisky as being produced in Scotland. These regulations will help protect whisky customers across the globe."

Welcoming the regulations, SWA chief executive, Gavin Hewitt, said: "This is landmark legislation for Scotch Whisky delivering important benefits for consumers, distillers, and the economy.

"Additional protection, including the requirement to bottle single malt Scotch whisky in Scotland, helps safeguard Scotch from unfair and deceptive practices.

"The new labelling rules provide a unique opportunity to promote consumer understanding of Scotch worldwide."

Five years ago, drinks giant Diageo withdrew a whisky brand which was at the centre of a row over the definition of "pure malt".

Its Cardhu Pure Malt, which was a mix of whiskies from more than one distillery, was taken off the market amid concerns that the use of the term "pure" was imprecise and could confuse consumers.

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