The Scotch Whisky Association has applauded the EC's acquiescence to allow spirit drinks to be sold in any of nine standard sizes.

The European Parliament voted yesterday (10 May) to continue the current situation across the continent for spirits bottling. The vote means that the standard 70cl bottle size, used by Scotch whisky manufacturers, will be retained.

In 1993, a set range of bottle size was approved in the EU, but recent European Commission proposals would have abolished the range.

"This decision is good news for consumers," said Nick Soper, the SWA's European affairs director. "Research shows consumers prefer standard sizes, finding them easy to understand and an aid to making shopping decisions. Before regulation, over 60 bottles could be found on the market, all of slightly different sizes and quantities, and were confusing to consumers.

"Standard bottle sizes have also supported distillers' investment in high speed bottling facilities, as well as in lightweight glass, which brings substantial raw material and energy savings. At the same time, the existing regulation of bottle sizes promotes fair competition in the spirits sector and we are delighted that the European Parliament has voted to retain these standard sizes in the years ahead."