The whisky industry will feel the effects of a minimum price, the SWA has warned

The whisky industry will feel the effects of a minimum price, the SWA has warned

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has claimed that a cost-cutting exercise by a distiller in the country is "hard evidence" that the industry will be hit by minimum pricing.

The trade body spoke out after it was reported that Loch Lomond Distillery has allegedly "ripped up the contracts of about half its staff" and transferred 16 posts to a job agency to cut costs. The company said that the situation would get worse with the introduction of minimum pricing next year, it was reported. 

"This news shows the unfortunate impact minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol is having on just one company," said Gavin Hewitt, the SWA's chief executive.

"It provides hard evidence to undermine the claim repeatedly made by Scottish Ministers that, as a premium product, Scotch Whisky won’t be affected by MUP." 

A minimum price of GBP0.50 per unit is expected to be introduced by April next year in Scotland. The SWA predicts around 25-30% of annual Scotch whisky sales in Scotland could be hit. 

However, the Scottish government rejected the idea the industry will be affected. A government spokesperson told just-drinks there was "no evidence of a connection between any job losses and the introduction of minimum pricing".  

"In addition to saving lives and reducing harm, minimum pricing is predicted to reduce costs to the health, social care and criminal justice services and contribute to an increase in the productive capacity of the Scottish economy as a whole,” the spokesperson added.  

Nobody from Loch Lomond Distillery was available for comment.