Scotch Whisky celebrates 4th anniversary of EU-Korea trade agreement
30 Jun 2015
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and
South Korea will have been in force for four years on 1 July.
This agreement delivered a wide range of benefits for consumers
and exporters on both sides, including recognition of products with
'geographical indications', such as Scotch Whisky. Increased
contact between Korean and European regulators under the FTA also
benefits exporters across the board.
Although the effects of the financial crisis produced a general
decline in consumption of spirits in Korea after 2008, with Scotch
exports declining in the short run, this has now begun to reverse,
and last year the shipment value of Scotch exports to Korea
increased 1.65% to £117.3 million, from £115.4 million in 2013.
Korea is the eighth biggest export market for Scotch by value. This
gives the industry confidence in the future of the Korean
Korean consumers are also seeking out premium products, including
Single Malt Scotch Whisky which has soared in popularity in Korea
from £2.0 million in 2004 to a record £8.4 million last year.
Between 2013 and 2014 alone exports of Single Malts to Korea
increased by almost 70% from £5.0 million.
A major part of the appeal of Scotch in Korea, and globally, is
its consistently high quality, which strict UK and EU legislation,
primarily the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, helps preserve. To
maintain the quality and consistency of Scotch nothing can be added
to the three raw materials of water, yeast and cereals during the
production process. Master blenders employ their skills and
expertise to produce brands that will taste good on their own, with
water, on the rocks or mixed to suit the palate of individual
consumers across the world.
The definition of Scotch Whisky in these regulations includes
strict rules governing distillation and maturation, and sets a
minimum strength of 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). The 40% ABV
requirement was arrived at following rigorous scientific testing
and tasting over many years. It found that 40% ABV was the lowest
strength at which whisky can be bottled without affecting the
characteristics that consumers have come to know and love. The
composition, nosing, tasting and overall quality of Scotch would be
adversely affected by filtration if it were bottled below that ABV
because of the loss of flavour-giving natural compounds, according
to the scientific research.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "The
Free Trade Agreement with South Korea seems to be working for
Scotch Whisky. Last year the value of Scotch exports to Korea
increased for the first time since the FTA came into force four
years ago, following the full elimination of the import
"South Korean consumers look for quality and premium products, and
Scotch Whisky perfectly fits the bill. Scotch has been made for
more than 500 years and the rules around its production, including
40% minimum ABV and its geographic indication which means it must
be made in Scotland, along with the passion and expertise of those
working in the industry, ensure its consistently high
standard. This means that when people buy a genuine Scotch
Whisky they can be assured of the finest and the highest
With media queries please contact Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch
Whisky Association head of communications, 0044 131 222 9230
or 0044 7432 605385, email firstname.lastname@example.org