The rules on Scotch production are being ramped up

The rules on Scotch production are being ramped up

A new UK Government verification scheme aimed at further tightening the production rules around Scotch whisky has come into effect.

The Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme, first announced in 2012, aims to ensure that every aspect of the supply chain for Scotch is mapped by the industry, registered with the Government and complies with the rules on Scotch production. The annual cost of the scheme will be around GBP350,000 (US$576,069), with the industry footing the bill. 

Scotch is already protected under European Union legislation as a product of Geographical Indication (GI), but the new rules mean that the category will have the same high protection as other European GIs, such as Cognac. 

As part of the scheme, Scotch producers must register with HM Revenue & Customs, listing all their sites within Scotland and outside, including distilleries, maturation facilities and blending and bottling plants. Companies that bottle Scotch abroad also fall under the remit of the scheme. 

David Frost, the Scotch Whisky Association’s new chief executive, welcomed the move, hailing it a “step change” in the protection of Scotch.

“It will give even more protection to the consumers of Scotch whisky,” he said. “It will greatly improve the industry’s ability to stop the sale of adulterated Scotch whiskies abroad.”