Safeguarding Scotch Whisky


Scotch Whisky is to get greater protection against cheap imitations as a result of new regulations on production of what is an 'iconic Scottish product'.

The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 come into force tomorrow (Monday).

The Scottish Government has been working closely with the industry, through the Scotch Whisky Association, and with the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the last three years to ensure that the industry's requirements are reflected in the new legislation.

As a result the regulations will:

  • Make it clear exactly what is in the bottle
  • Where and how it was distilled
  • Will require Single Malt to be bottled in Scotland

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said:

"Scotch Whisky is a truly iconic Scottish product. It makes a huge contribution to our economy and promotes the brand of 'Scotland' across the world.

"It is vital to protect the good name of Scotch from inferior imitations, and that is why the Scottish Government has contributed to the development of the new Regulations, which do just that.

"The Regulations will make it clear exactly what is in the bottle, where and how it was distilled and will require Single Malt to be bottled in Scotland.

"We will work with our enterprise agencies - in particular Scottish Development International (SDI) - to promote the Regulations throughout the world in order to further strengthen the protection of Scotch Whisky in overseas markets. This should help maximise the massive economic potential of the industry, safeguarding jobs and investment in Scotland."

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, said:

"Scotch whisky is rightly celebrated around the world. It is one of our most successful and iconic exports and these regulations will further strengthen its reputation and deliver a further boost to our whisky sector."

The Regulations, which come into force on Monday (November 23rd), have been designed to meet the industry's need for stronger legal protection for Scotch Whisky.

They have been developed by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with significant input from Scottish Government and in close consultation with the Scotch Whisky Association.

After a two year transition period (three years in the case of the provisdion about bottling single malts in Scotland) the regulations will ensure:

  • Compulsory use of category descriptions, such as 'Blended Scotch Whisky', to ensure consumers receive clear information about what is in the bottle
  • The bottling of all Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland, which will protect this growing category
  • New protection for the traditional regional names associated with Scotch Whisky distillation, e.g. Speyside, and clear rules on product age statements
  • A tightening up of the use of distillery names so that if a name is used on a label, the consumer can be certain that the whisky was distilled at that distillery

SDI has agreed organise a number of receptions in strategic markets (approximately four different markets) to promote the new regulations over the next 12 months. This activity is included in its operational plans for 2009-2010.