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02.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedAtPressTime

NEW MEASURES AIM to PROTECT SCOTCH WHISKY

Article By: MBB

THE WESTMINSTER GOVERNMENT will publish detailed legislative proposals to give Scotch whisky Champagne-style geographical definitions to protect the industry from counterfeiting. The move - put out for consultation with a view to introducing new laws in the spring - will be a major boost in the fight against second-rate and fake products. Food and farming minister Jeff Rooker said the new regulations would enhance the protection of Scotch as a prestigious and world-renowned product. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will now spend three months consulting on the detail of the draft legislation that will deliver, in UK law, strengthened definitions of Scotch whisky.

This will help support action against counterfeiting and "passing-off", as called for by the Scotch Whisky Association, with the aim of introducing UK legislation at Westminster in spring 2OO8 and having it on the statute book by the summer. Lord Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Food and Farming, said: "This will help meet the industry's request to protect Scotch whisky here and in global markets from counterfeit products and misleading practices."

The proposed legislation will make special provisions relating to Scotch whisky and more tightly define the descriptions applied to it - for example "single malt" or "blended grain". These provisions will also tightly define Scotch whisky's geographical provenance - such as Highland or Islay - and ensure that if the product uses the name of a distillery, then it must also come from that distillery.

Scotland Secretary Des Browne said: "Not only is Scotch whisky one of our most iconic products, it is also economically hugely significant with exports worth E2.5 billion each year. This is why the UK government acted when approached by the industry.

"Scotch whisky, and, in particular, single-malt Scotch whisky, will be defined by law in Scotland, the UK, the EU, and nearly every export market." The industry has regularly complained of Scotch such as "Glen Highland Green" and "Red Scot" being sold in countries like India and China.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) can be fighting up to 7O court cases around the world at any one time against overseas manufacturers who use tartan designs or pictures of pipers on their packaging, or who give their whisky names which are supposed to sound Scottish. SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "At a time when international demand for Scotch is growing, distillers will applaud proposals to bring forward this important legislation."

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