A new government scheme has been launched which will protect the status of genuine Scotch whisky in the European Union.
The Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme has been launched to prevent popular drinks with specific geographical origins being undermined by fake or sub-standard products.
Manufacturers will need to sign up for the scheme if they want to sell certain drinks within the European Union.
Scotch whisky is the first drink to be covered by the scheme but others, including Somerset Cider Brandy and Irish whiskey are expected to be added.
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The scheme will be administered by HMRC and will be warmly welcomed by industry according to the Scotch Whisky Association.
The association’s CEO David Frost said: “This is a step change in the protection of Scotch whisky and should be warmly welcomed.
“We fully support the introduction of the verification scheme by the UK government. It will give even more protection to consumers of Scotch whisky.
“It will greatly improve the industry’s ability to stop the sale of adulterated Scotch whiskies bottled abroad.”
The Scotch whisky industry is an important force in the Scottish and UK economy accounting for £4.3bn of exports in 2012.
The Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme was launched today by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
“The verification scheme will make sure people who buy Scotch get what they pay for – the finest spirit in the world,” said Mr Alexander.
“The booming Scotch whisky industry is a huge asset to Scotland and the UK which benefits from being part of the UK and European market.”