Consumers of Scotch Whisky 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 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, said: "This is a step change in the protection of Scotch Whisky and should be warmly welcomed. It will greatly improve the industry's ability to stop the sale of adulterated Scotch Whiskies bottles abroad."
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