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Diageo hails "healthy tension" in Scotch whisky rule change

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Diageo's global head of innovation has welcomed a rule change on Scotch whisky production, describing the move as an example of the "healthy tension" between tradition and consumer demands.

Diageo said the rule change would help keep the Scotch whisky industry forward-looking

Diageo said the rule change would help keep the Scotch whisky industry forward-looking

Michael Ward said today the changes unveiled by the Scotch Whisky Association last month, which relax the limitations on the types of casks used to mature Scotch, should help keep the category "alive and forward-looking". Ward also praised the SWA, saying that "when there's reason to evolve, things evolve".

"It's always done in a thoughtful way," Ward added. "It's a good outcome - a healthy creative tension between the past and regulation and where consumers are looking to in the future. I'm very comfortable with it."

Under the new regulations, Scotch distillers would be allowed to use a wider range of casks to mature liquid in, including potentially Tequila and baijiu casks. The rules state that casks used by other categories to mature liquid can now be used to age Scotch, but only if cask maturation is part of the "traditional process" of the original category.

The SWA will retain the right to decide what casks can be used, however. A stipulation of the new rules states that the process must still result in a spirit that has the "taste, aroma and colour generally found in Scotch whisky".

Diageo is the world's biggest Scotch distiller, owning blended brands including Johnnie Walker and single malts such as Talisker.

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Expert Analysis

Whiskey (Spirits) Market in United Kingdom - Outlook to 2022: Market Size, Growth and Forecast Analytics

Whiskey (Spirits) Market in United Kingdom - Outlook to 2022: Market Size, Growth and Forecast Analytics

Whiskey (Spirits) Market in United Kingdom - Outlook to 2022: Market Size, Growth and Forecast Analytics is a broad level market review of Whiskey market in United Kingdom.

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