Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Ministers raise a glass to scotch whisky protection

Ministers raise a glass to scotch whisky protection

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 23 November 2009

271/09 Under new regulations, people who enjoy a (responsible) tipple of Scotch Whisky will be able to do so with the confidence they are purchasing the genuine article.

The UK Scotch Whisky Regulations coming into force today will protect consumers from counterfeit products and insufficient labelling by providing legal protection to the £3bn industry.

Food and Farming Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, who joined Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy at Grangemouth Port to launch the regulations, said:

“When you buy a bottle of Scotch, you want to know that it’s from Scotland – not a cheap and inferior imitation.”

“So these new regulations mean that if it says ‘Scotch Whisky’ on the bottle it will be Scotch Whisky in the bottle.”

The Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said:

"The Government has worked closely with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) on these regulations which introduce a stronger legal framework to protect one of our most cherished products.

"It is vital that we protect our key industries. We cannot allow others to trade off our good name and to pass off inferior whisky as being produced in Scotland. These regulations will help protect whisky customers across the globe.

"New labelling rules will also mean that customers will have a clearer understanding about precisely where and how their drink has been produced."

Transitional arrangements mean that operators will have time to adjust to the new labelling and bottling requirements.

Notes to editors

The UK Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 which come into force on 23 November will:

· Introduce and define 5 categories of Scotch Whisky;

· Introduce rules on compulsory sales descriptions;

· Introduce rules on the use of distillery and distillers names on Scotch Whisky labels;

· Introduce rules on the use of local and regional geographical indications e.g. “Islay” including protection for certain Scottish localities and regions;

· Ban the use of ‘pure malt’ or derivations of that description;

· Introduce tighter rules on maturation, age, and distillation statements;

· Allow transitional periods concerning packaging, advertising, promotion and export of single malts;

· Ban the export of Single Malt Scotch Whisky unless it is bottled;

· Ban the export of Scotch Whisky in wooden casks and other wooden containers;

· Enable food authorities and port health authorities to impose monetary penalties for infringements of the Regulations; and

· Also include criminal sanctions.

· A transitional period of two years applies to the new labelling requirements and three years for the new bottling requirements.

Contacts:

Defra Press Office
Phone: 020 7238 5608
NDS.DEFRA@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Tim Dunford
Phone: 020 7238 6001
tim.dunford@defra.gsi.gov.uk

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