UK: Scotch whisky producers gear up for verification scheme

By | 2 September 2013

Scotch is set to get extra protection

Scotch is set to get extra protection

Scotch whisky producers will soon be expected to apply to the UK Government to have their brands verified as originating from Scotland, under a new scheme.

The initiative, which was first announced last year, will see HM Revenue & Customs officials visit Scotch producers to check their brands and production processes. The scheme is intended to give extra protection to companies producing genuine Scotch whisky.

An HMRC spokesperson told just-drinks today (2 September) that the results of a consultation on the plans are due next month. “We will begin accepting applications for verification visits shortly thereafter,” the spokesperson added.

The Government has said that the cost of the scheme will be met by the Scotch whisky industry. However, HMRC said the cost represents only 0.0000625% of the industry's global sales. The cost is likley to be split by litres of alcohol produced globally meaning a bottle of Scotch would only rise by around GBP0.02-0.03.

The Scotch Whisky Association has backed the plans. “We welcome the extra protection and the cost of the scheme will be shared across the industry,” a spokesperson told just-drinks. 

Scotch whisky is already protected under EU legislation as a product of Geographical Indication (GI).

The SWA globally monitors products that are looking to capitalise on any association with Scotch whisky. Late last year, the group won a trademark battle with a New Zealand off-licence chain over a drink that claimed to "evoke the flavours of the Highlands".

Expert analysis

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Sectors: Legislation, Spirits

Companies: Scotch Whisky Association

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