Industry welcomes verification scheme
10 Jan 2014
New verification scheme good for
Consumers of Scotch Whisky around the world are being given even
greater reassurance that what they buy is the genuine article,
thanks to a new verification regime.
The Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme has been launched by Rt
Hon Danny Alexander MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, at
Benromach Scotch Whisky distillery in Speyside. The launch was
attended by the Scotch Whisky Association and industry
The scheme ensures that every part of the Scotch Whisky supply
chain, from distiller to consumer, within Scotland or beyond, is
mapped by the industry, registered with the UK Government and
inspected to ensure it complies fully with all the rules on the
production of Scotch.
Scotch Whisky is already protected as a Geographical Indication
(GI), meaning it can only be produced in Scotland according to UK
rules. The European Union (EU) requires that the production process
of every GI is verified by the authorities. The new scheme ensures
that Scotch Whisky has the same high protection as other European
GIs, such as Cognac.
All businesses involved in any stage of the production of Scotch
Whisky must register with Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs
(HMRC) by listing all their relevant sites within and outside
Scotland, including distilleries, maturation facilities, blending
and bottling plants. Bottlers of Scotch Whisky abroad will also be
subject to controls.
The total annual cost of the verification scheme of around
£350,000 is being shared across the Scotch Whisky industry, in
accordance with EU rules.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive,
"Geographical Indication status is of great commercial value to
the Scotch Whisky industry. This is a step change in the protection
of Scotch Whisky and should be warmly welcomed.
"We fully support the introduction of the verification scheme by
the UK Government. It will give even more protection to
consumers of Scotch Whisky. It will greatly improve the industry's
ability to stop the sale of adulterated Scotch Whiskies bottles
Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
"I'm delighted that this scheme is now up and running, helping
protect one of the UK's most important and successful export
industries. The verification scheme will make sure people who buy
Scotch get what they pay for - the finest spirit in the world. The
Scotch Whisky industry is now worth around £4bn to the Scottish
economy and employs more than 10,000 people in Scotland.
"The booming Scotch Whisky industry is a huge asset to Scotland
and the UK which benefits from being part of the UK and European
market. The UK Government is doing its bit today to step in and
make sure cheap fakes don't undermine this unique global
Notes to editors
More information on the scheme is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk
Geographical Indications (GI)
Only products that have a specific geographical origin and
possess a quality and a reputation or other characteristic
associated with that origin qualify for GI status. That means
Scotch Whisky is recognised as a product that must be made in
Scotland and is registered in Regulation (EC) No 110/2008.
GIs were first formally recognised in the World Trade
Organisation Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights in 1994. All WTO members must protect a GI from
misuse. The Scotch Whisky Association is also registering Scotch
Whisky as a GI in as many countries as possible.
Scotch Whisky is currently registered as a GI in 41
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