Consultation on the proposed new Scotch Whisky regulations has taken an unexpected and dramatic turn, with the suggestion for a controversial sixth sales category.

A proposal from Loch Lomond Distillers for single malt whisky distilled in a column still is encountering opposition from the Scotch Whisky Association(SWA) and DEFRA.

"We're delighted by the quality of this spirit and the column still process gives greater control and consistency," A company spokesman told just-drinks yesterday (4 June). "But the proposed new regulations will defeat our efforts to save energy and raw materials. We believe this is single malt and intend to continue using it in our blended whiskies, regardless of the outcome of the consultation."

Loch Lomond Distillers is a privately-held business based in Alexandria, near Glasgow, together with its sister company the Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse.  The company, which is not a member of the SWA, maintain a substantial grain and single malt distilling operation supplying international customers with both Loch Lomond's own brands and customers' own label products. They also own the Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown.

Campbell Evans of the SWA said: "The SWA, whose members account for  over 90% of all production and sales, rejects the notion of a sixth category. Traditionally, two types of Scotch Whisky have been produced, Malt Scotch Whisky produced by a distillation of a mash of malted barley in pot stills, and Grain Scotch Whisky produced by distillation of different cereals, including malted barley, in patent stills.

"The further category being floated does not therefore reflect traditional Scotch Whisky distillation and practice. Such a move would undermine the proposals and confuse consumers. The product in question is in any event already covered by the term 'Single Grain Scotch Whisky' outlined in the draft Regulations."