The SWA said membership will also protect Scotchs cultural heritage

The SWA said membership will also protect Scotch's cultural heritage

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has bolstered efforts to protect its geographical status by joining the Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network (ORIGIN).

The industry body, the first UK group to join ORIGIN, said today that membership will help promote Scotch as a geographical indication (GI) - a product that must be made in Scotland. Geneva-based ORIGIN works to improve protection for GIs around the world and also promotes them as a tool for sustainable development.

“Protecting GIs is not just about intellectual property, it is also about protecting cultural heritage and employment, particularly in rural areas,” said David Frost, SWA's chief executive.

Scotch whisky is already protected under EU legislation as a product of geographical indication.

In June, the SWA said it was to sign a "co-operation agreement" with Mexico's Tequila Regulatory Council to boost protection of both spirits.