Page last updated at 00:59 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

Scotch whisky protected against 'inferior' copies


The measures are aimed at preventing imitators from bootlegging Scotch

New guidelines to protect whisky from foreign imitation, including new rules on labelling and bottling, are coming into force in Scotland on Monday.

There will be a new requirement to only bottle Single Malts in Scotland, and tighter rules on the use of distillery names on bottle labels.

There will also be better protection of traditional regional names such as "Highland" and "Lowland".

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) described it as "landmark legislation".

The regulations have been drawn up by the UK government.

Additional protection, including the requirement to bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland, helps safeguard Scotch from unfair and deceptive practices
Gavin Hewitt

Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: "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.

"New labelling rules will also mean that customers will have a clearer understanding about precisely where and how their drink has been produced. This will enhance the education of many whisky drinkers as well as their enjoyment."

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.

"These regulations have the strong backing of the Scotch Whisky industry."

Regulation details

Some of the details of the new legislation include:

  • Five categories of Scotch Whisky are defined for the first time; Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.
  • These compulsory category sales terms will be required to appear clearly and prominently on all labels.
  • A requirement to only bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland.
  • New rules to prevent the misleading labelling and marketing of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.
  • A ban on the use of the term "Pure Malt".
  • A ban on the use of a distillery name as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky which has not been wholly distilled in the named distillery.
  • Protection of five traditional whisky regions of production; Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.
  • A requirement that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland.
  • Clear rules on the use of age statements on packaging.
  • Designation of HM Customs & Excise as the verification authority for Scotch Whisky.

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