Scotch whisky distilleries will escape a crackdown on alcohol displays, devised by Scotland's Government as part of its strategy to tackle alcohol abuse.

Gift shops at Scotland's 42 whisky distilleries, as well more than 30 breweries, will not have to abide by proposed new rules to restrict alcohol on display in retailers, Scotland's ruling National Party (SNP) said yesterday (18 May).

The Government's change of heart marks a victory for the industry, which has long argued that applying the new rules to gift shops will damage tourism and penalise small drinks firms.

Scotch Whisky Association spokesperson Campbell Evans said: "We have worked closely with the Government to agree a pragmatic and workable solution so that visitor centres can continue to showcase Scotch Whisky and a wide range of other local products."

Scottish ministers laid its proposal to restrict alcoholic drinks displays before the country's Parliament yesterday.

Justic secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "Our regulations to prevent alcohol being displayed in more than one area of a shop, were designed to prevent alcohol being displayed all over the store to encourage impulse buying."

The SNP intends to introduce the law under the existing Licensing Act 2005 and aims to begin enforcing restrictions in September 2009.

Other proposals made by the SNP to curb alcohol abuse, including a minimum price, can only be introduced if new legislation is passed in Parliament.