Scotch whisky will be protected in Hong Kong under a new trademark in what has been described as an “increasingly important market” for the product.
Under the trademark, all products to use the label must follow production requirements that include having been produced in Scotland using only water, cereals and yeast, and then matured in the country for at least three years in oak casks.
Scotland exported more than £31m ($39.6m) worth of Scotch to Hong Kong in 2022, according to SWA figures.
The trade body said the developing market was “increasingly important” for Scotch whisky, and exports have nearly doubled in value since 2013.
It follows similar protection for the product in mainland China, where it is trademarked and has a geographical indication, and in Macao, where it also has a GI.
Lindesay Low, SWA deputy legal director, said: “Hong Kong is an increasingly important market for Scotch whisky, with exports to the region worth more than £31m in 2022.
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“Improving protection of Scotch whisky in developing markets is a priority for the SWA legal team, as consumers in these markets explore and expand their knowledge of Scotland’s national drink.
“Hong Kong’s recognition of the Scotch whisky certification trademark gives consumers in the market the confidence and certainty that what they are purchasing is the genuine quality product.”
The registration was first filed in 2020, Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department records show.
Brian Davidson, British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao, added the trademark would give consumers “even more confidence in the provenance” of the spirit.
It follows news in July that single-malt Welsh whisky would be protected under the UK GI scheme.
It was the first UK spirit to be registered under the scheme, created after the UK's departure from the EU. To be classified as single-malt Welsh whisky, each step of the production process must have taken place in Wales, using malted barley and water of 100% Welsh origin. Most Welsh distilleries still have their own well or borehole that enables them to use local water.
The product is registered to four distillers in Wales, which together export to more than 45 countries worldwide including the USA, France, Germany and China.