EXCLUSIVE - NEW ZEALAND: Scotch Whisky Association readies appeal over MacGowans ruling
Part of the SWA's modus operandi is "to stop any mis-representation that states or suggests a whisky is Scotch whisky, or comes from Scotland, when that isn't the case"
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has confirmed that it will appeal a trademark ruling in favour of drinks retailer The Mill Liquorsave in New Zealand, over the latter's MacGowans spirits brand.
A report out of New Zealand yesterday (23 July) said that The Mill applied in 2009 to register the MacGowans trademark in the country, for its whisky-flavoured spirit product. A subsequent opposition filing from the SWA, launched in 2010, was turned down at the end of this month by the assistant commissioner of trademarks in the country.
With a lower abv than Scotch whisky – 13.9% versus the legally-required 40% minimum – and a price point of around NZD10 (US$7.90) a litre, The Mill argued that MacGowans “doesn't represent itself to be a whisky and has no mention of whisky on its labelling”, the report said.
When contacted by just-drinks, however, an SWA spokesperson said that the trade body will file an appeal.
“Despite being labelled as “The finest distilled spirit blended to evoke the flavour of the Highlands”, the MacGowans product does not qualify as a spirit and does not come from the Highlands,” the spokesperson said. “It is understood to be produced in Melbourne, Australia.
“The description “Whisky flavoured spirits (none of the foregoing being whisky)” is not exactly one that will be clear to consumers.”
The appeal is set to be lodged with New Zealand's High Court.
This month, Ian Buxton takes a look at an idea that, should it come to fruition, will send shockwaves through the Scotch whisky industry. In Scotland, he notes, there seems to be water, water everywhe...
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