New regulations

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Rob Allanson
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New regulations

Postby Rob Allanson » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Landmark Scotch Whisky Regulations covering every aspect of the making, bottling, and labelling of Scotch Whisky come into force.
The far-reaching new rules provide robust legal protection for Scotch Whisky from imitations, whilst ensuring consumers receive clear and consistent information on bottle labels.
Introduced by the UK Government, the Regulations reinforce the integrity of Scotch and will support the future growth of Scotland's largest export.
A new requirement to only bottle Single Malts in Scotland, tighter rules on the use of distillery names on bottle labels, and better protection of traditional regional names such as 'Highland'
and 'Lowland', are among the measures introduced. Consistent labelling terms and rules will ensure consumers receive clear information about what they are buying.
The industry plans to use the Regulations as an opportunity to promote and grow understanding of the different categories of Scotch Whisky around the world.
Paul Walsh, Chairman of The Scotch Whisky Association, welcomed the new law:
"Protection and promotion of Scotch Whisky is at the heart of the new UK Regulations, which are in the best interests of whisky consumers, distillers, and the wider economy.
"Working with the UK Government and officials in Scotland, these Regulations are a major step forward and form the definitive statement of the rules on making, bottling, and labelling Scotch Whisky. The new rules have been welcomed across the industry, benefiting small and large distillers alike, and supporting the growth of both Single and Blended whiskies.
"Consumers around the world are passionate about Scotch Whisky. They recognise brands of the highest quality, which have built up a reputation that is second to none. This landmark legislation will help us to ensure they always receive the genuine article and help us to explain better to consumers why Scotch Whisky is so special.

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Re: New regulations

Postby Iain » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:13 pm

[quote="Rob Allanson"]
A new requirement to only bottle Single Malts in Scotland, [/quote]

Why is it decreed that only single malt Scotch whisky should be bottled in Scotland? Why d blended Scotch whiskies not receive such legislative special treatment? What about blended malts? Are they inferior or less deserving of special treatment in some way?

This is a weird law! (or have I missed something?)

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Re: New regulations

Postby kallaskander » Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:17 am

Hi there,

blends are 95% of the Scotch whisky market.

The companies organised in the SWA or making up the SWA do not want to be hindered from bottling blends in countries where bottling is cheaper than in Scotland.

15-25% of blended Scotch is already bottled outside of Scotland.

You do not believe that SWA organised global players would vote against their own interests?

5% of the Scotch market is in single malts. Regulations here do ot hurt anybody only forreign independent bottlers for whom the SWA could not care less.

The "landmark legislation" is a bit hypocritcal it seems. And nice to see how SWA representatives argue a point for single malt protection that would hurt their members if applied to blends.

Scotch whisky is better protected! All of it? Err, well no...


PS If you want a closer look ... 890_en.pdf

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Re: New regulations

Postby FirewallXL5 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:51 pm

Some of the comments posted seem not entirely fair, the official reasoning is listed below...
it seems it is not a matter entirely under domestic control (see remarks re. Mexico and Tequila).
Perhaps best looked at as a work-in-progress, labelling and other protections are constantly evolving, just compare the situation today with 30 years ago and has there not been significant and worthwhile progress?
As malt is arguably the sector most deserving of protection and at the premium end of the market (also by far the greatest focus of contributors to this forum) I'd have thought this was worth at least 2 cheers?????


There is no law requiring Scotch Whisky to be bottled in Scotland - although as previously mentioned there are proposals within the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 to introduce this law with regard to Scotch malt Whisky.
In the case of Scotch Whisky, to stipulate the geographical location where a product is packaged through an EU Geographic Indication, it would need to be proven that the bottling of Scotch Whisky in Scotland is necessary to safeguard quality, ensure the origin or ensure control.

Scotch blended Whiskies have been exported in bulk for around a century - to be bottled in countries such as the USA, Brazil and France. The SWA believe that there are reasons for this practice to continue:

1. Many countries demand bulk supplies of whisky to be blended with other whiskies and locally branded. If bulk supplies of Scotch Whisky were not used in these local blends then it is likely that bulk supplies of whisky would be sourced from other whisky exporting countries.

2. In some countries the local fiscal and regulatory framework makes market access easier for bulk rather than bottled products. For example, several countries in South America apply lower taxes to bulk shipments. If Scotch Whisky was not exported in bulk to these countries it would be more difficult to compete with products exported from other whisky producing countries on a price basis.

3. If the exporting of Scotch blended Whisky in bulk was made unlawful, given that the existing trade in bulk shipments of Scotch blended Whisky support a number of bottling jobs in overseas countries, any new requirement to bottle blended whisky in Scotland would likely result in challenge by third country Governments. This occurred when Mexico attempted to stipulate that all tequila must be bottled in Mexico. The USA was prepared to approach the WTO regarding these proposals and in the end they were withdrawn (SWA 2009a).

However, there are also those who believe that all Scotch blended Whisky should bottled in Scotland to preserve the reputation of the industry (through retaining the link between the whisky and its history) and to safeguard direct employment at the bottling plants alongside indirect employment within companies located in Scotland to undertake supply-chain activities such as glass manufacture, labelling, inspection, etc.

The Scottish Council of Development and Industry (SCDI) published a discussion paper 'Should Scotland Export Bulk Whisky?' in 1979. The paper concluded that Scotland would economically benefit in the long-term if the bulk export of all whisky was banned. SCDI has more recently stated that, to protect Scotch Whisky's reputation, should the quantities of Scotch Whisky shipped in bulk abroad fall in the future, it may become feasible to revisit the bulk export of Scotch blended Whisky (SCDI 2008).

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Re: New regulations

Postby Holysinner » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:31 am

[quote="C_I"]Now the $64,000 question:

Do all the rules apply when you *do not* put Scotch on the label?

So in the case of Loch Lomond, if they label their whisky as:
Single Malt Whisky.
Distilled, matured and bottled in Scotland.

As long as you put Scotland large enough on the label, no worries if Scotch is not mentioned.

What can e.g. the SWA do? I think nothing.[/quote]

I'm not sure about that. In the regs,
[quote]5.-(1) A person must not manufacture a whisky distillate in Scotland unless it is manufactured
in the manner described in regulation 3(1)(a) and (b).
(2) A person must not manufacture any whisky in Scotland except Scotch Whisky.[/quote]

3(1)(a) and (b) only refer to Scotch Whisky, not the specific category of Scotch Single Malt Whisky (3.2 defines Single Malt). For Loch Lomond malt not distilled in a pot still, they may be able to call it Single Grain Scotch Whisky, but I doubt they can call it Single Malt Whisky (without using the term Scotch), as all whisky produced in Scotland must be Scotch Whisky within the five defined categories.

Remember, these regulations are now law, therefore enforced by the government rather than the SWA.

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The Third Dram
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Re: New regulations

Postby The Third Dram » Sun Nov 29, 2009 3:46 pm

"Five categories of Scotch Whisky are defined for the first time: Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky."

Not a bad attempt to both simplify and clarify the various categories available to the consumer, though I personally will miss the old 'Vatted Pure Malt' designation.

"A requirement to only bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland.
Protection of five traditional whisky regions of production: Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown."

Entirely consistent with other indistries' (particularly officially delineated and regulated wine regions of renown) meaures to protect the integrity of their products and to bolster local enterprises directly or indirectly involved in the production and bottling process.

"A requirement that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland."

Wonder how this will affect those 'across the pond' experimentations involving maturing Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Kentucky?

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Re: New regulations

Postby Iain » Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:37 pm

[quote="The Third Dram"]

"A requirement that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland."

Wonder how this will affect those 'across the pond' experimentations involving maturing Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Kentucky?[/quote]

The product of those experiments clearly can't legally be sold as Scotch. But I believe the quantities of Scotch exported for such experiments were very small. (Does anyone know different?)

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