UK: SWA defends new Scotch whisky rules
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has defended new regulations covering Scotch whisky against criticism from some corners of the industry.
New regulations on what can be called bona fide Scotch whisky, which will include the outlawing of the bottling of single malt outside Scotland, will be passed into law on 23 November.
The regulations include additional protection for Scotch from unfair competition and deceptive practices within a legal framework and rules to require the bottling of single malt Scotch in Scotland.
However, the Guardian newspaper reported today that Loch Lomond Distillery, in Scotland, may be forced to "cut jobs and abandon efforts to reduce energy use" because of new rules defining how traditional malt whisky is made.
A spokesperson for the distillery was unavailable for comment when contacted by just-drinks today.
It is understood that Loch Lomond, which produces around 20m bottles of whisky a year, produces its malt mash in a single still rather than the traditional practice of using a copper pot still.
Loch Lomond Distillery, based in Alexandria near Glasgow, told the Guardian it has been producing malt using a single-still method that cuts CO2 emissions by "thousands of tonnes" every year.
However, a spokesperson for the SWA said that the suggestion the product at Loch Lomond is in any way a more environmentally friendly spirit is "simply nonsense".
He added that the method used by the distillery was "not traditional practice" within the industry and was merely a "shortcut".
"The industry itself launched an environment strategy back in June this year and it has been praised by the Scottish government as a pioneering strategy as we look to make sure that the industry continues to take a look in the whole area of environmental sustainability. But the suggestion that this practice is in some way more environmentally friendly is a red herring," the spokesperson told just-drinks.
He added: "The [Loch Lomond] spirit can still be used, it can be sold as single grain Scotch whisky and indeed it can be used within a blended scotch whisky. But it simply can't be sold as single malt Scotch whisky because it isn't single malt Scotch whisky and it wouldn't have been made in line with traditional practice for that product.
"It's important to understand, these are landmark new Scotch whisky regulations and they will cover every aspect of the making, bottling and the selling of Scotch whisky. They have the support right across the Scotch whisky industry and they have been the subject of detailed discussions with the UK Government over the last five years so we look forward to them coming into force over the next few weeks," the spokesperson insisted.
"They'll bring major benefits to the industry as a whole. They'll provide robust legal protection for Scotch whisky from imitation products and it'll make sure that consumers receive clear and consistent information on bottle labels."
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