The UK authorities have given whisky producers a three-month window to look at its proposed changes to Scotch whisky legislation.

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released its proposed Scotch whisky regulation update on Monday (31 December), with the consultation period set to run until 25 March. The draft regulations will repeal the Scotch Whisky Act of 1988 and the Scotch Whisky Order of 1990, DEFRA hopes, and will replace them with the Scotch Whisky Regulations of 2008.

Among the proposals are the blocking of the use of Scottish region or distillery names by foreign whisky producers.

Speaking to just-drinks today (3 January), a spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the draft proposals. "We have been in negotiations with the (UK) Government on updating this legislation for around three years," the spokesperson said.

Gavin Hewitt, the SWA's chief executive, added:  "SWA members will be delighted the industry's international significance and important contribution to the economy have been recognised with new standalone Scotch Whisky Regulations. The legislation will put in place a robust and comprehensive legal framework for Scotch Whisky, improving its protection from unfair practices globally, and ensuring consumers receive clear and consistent product information."

Following the closure of the consultation period on March, DEFRA said it expects the new legislation to become law in June, with producers being granted a two-year transitional period to come into line with the new requirements.