Blog: Andy MortonScotch for the Scots?

Andy Morton | 10 January 2013

A BBC Scotland investigation, aired last night, got all hot and bothered over the apparent lack of benefit whisky companies were according the country, particularly now business elites from Anhui to Angola are pushing profits ever higher.

An economics professor even suggested slapping a water tax on every bottle - it is, after all, only Scottish water that can be used to make real Scotch. (The Scotch Whisky Association yesterday heaped scorn on any so-called "tartan tax".)

But the programme's main beef – that not enough whisky companies are based in Scotland – may partly be offset by two stories out of the badlands of Fife this week. One, that a new whisky maker has received planning permission for a 4m-litre distillery, is on a far larger scale than the other, which saw funding secured for a 150,000-litre 'boutique' plant. But both are Scottish-owned and based and, though catering for widely disparate markets, are being aided by the Scottish Government.

In a comment piece last week, I mentioned the Food Processing Marketing and Cooperation grant that is set to play a key role in the setting up of smaller-scale, locally-owned distilleries, similar to the hundreds around the US that have added colour and diversity to the North American whiskey market.

The grant is targeted and focused on assistance for small-business development - surely a much better idea for Scotch, and Scotland, than a blanket tax hike. 

You can view the BBC Scotland programme, Scotched Earth, here (only available in the UK).



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