The new UK Scotch Whisky Regulations came into force yesterday (Nov 23) in a bid to protect the industry against counterfeits and help consumers identify products.
The regulations take in production, bottling and labelling.
The law has defined five categories of Scotch Whisky: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended Malt, Blended Grain, and Blended. The category which the whisky falls under will have to be clearly defined on the bottle.
Anything sold as ‘Scotch Whisky’ will now have to be fully matured in Scotland and there is protection for the names of the key distillery regions: Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown. The term ‘Pure Malt’ is now banned.
The legislation bans the export of Single Malt which isn’t bottled and stops all Scotch whisky from being sent abroad in wooden casks and containers.
The new laws were met with approval from The Scotch Whiskey Association; whose chairman Paul Walsh described them as “a major step forward”.
“Protection and promotion of Scotch Whisky is at the heart of the new UK Regulations, which are in the best interests of whisky consumers, distillers, and the wider economy,” he said.
“Consumers around the world are passionate about Scotch Whisky. They recognise brands of the highest quality, which have built up a reputation that is second to none. This landmark legislation will help us to ensure they always receive the genuine article and help us to explain better to consumers why Scotch Whisky is so special.”
Also appeased was Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy, who attended a launch of the regulations at Grangemouth Port, Falkirk. “The Government has worked closely with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) on these regulations which introduce a stronger legal framework to protect one of our most cherished products,” he 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.”
The Scotch whiskey industry is worth approximately £3bn and is Scotland’s biggest export. Exports, especially to growing Asian economies, have risen dramatically over the last couple of years to the extent that supplies of Scotch over 12 years old are now reportedly running low as a result.