Legal Protection in the UK
There are strict legal provisions which govern how Scotch Whisky is made, marketed and exported. The SWA helps to enforce these rules across our global markets.
Scotch Whisky has been defined by statute in the United Kingdom since 1933. The current definition is set out in the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 (“the UK Law”), which gives Scotch Whisky the best and most comprehensive protection that it has enjoyed to date. It covers every aspect of the making, bottling, labelling and promotion of Scotch Whisky.
What is Scotch Whisky?
The basic definition of Scotch Whisky can be found in the UK Law. In summary, Scotch Whisky is:
- Made in Scotland from only cereals, water and yeast
- Matured for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks
- Bottled at a minimum strength of 40% abv
- Distilled below 94.8% abv so that it retains the flavour and aroma derived from its raw materials
- No flavouring or sweetening is permitted
Categories of Scotch Whisky
The UK law defines five categories of Scotch Whisky:
news & commentary
Scotch Whisky Secures Trademark Protection in Hong Kong
Scotch Whisky now has trademark protection in Hong Kong for the first time.
SWA Legal Team Toasts WTR Awards Success as Best Not-for-Profit Organisation
The Scotch Whisky Association's Legal Affairs team has won its third World Trademark Review award in five years.
Joint statement with Macaloney Brewer & Distillers Ltd
A joint statement with Macaloney Brewer & Distillers Ltd
Decision over Glen Buchenbach upheld by appeal court
The SWA has won the legal case against the use of 'Glen' in Germany.
Scotch Whisky is registered as a GI in Laos
Scotch Whisky has officially been registered as a Geographical Indication in Laos
SWA releases new guidance on personal investment in Scotch Whisky casks
The SWA has published guidance for individuals looking to invest in Scotch Whisky casks.
Scotch Whisky secures GI protection in Cambodia
Cambodia is the latest country in which Scotch Whisky's geographical indication is officially registered.
SWA legal team wins 'Team of the Year' award
The SWA has been recognised for its work to protect Scotch Whisky at an awards ceremony in Boston.
SWA Comments on Glen Buchenbach case
Our case against Glen Buchenbach presented clear and compelling evidence to the court that 'Glen' is strongly associated with Scotland and Scotch Whisky, and the only reason to use 'Glen' for a German whisky is because of its undoubted association with Scotch Whisky.
Thinking of investing in Scotch Whisky?
The SWA has produced guidance for consumers of what to consider when investing in a cask of Scotch Whisky.
Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009: Guidance for Producers and Bottlers
The following guidance is aimed at assisting those producing and selling Scotch Whisky, and those designing labels, packaging and advertising, to comply with the 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations.