Introduced by the UK government, the regulations were created to give Scotch Whisky more robust legal protection and ensure that consumers receive clear and consistent information on bottle labels.
Measures in the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 include the requirement that Single Malts be bottled in Scotland, tighter rules on the use of distillery names on bottle labels, and better protection of traditional regional names like “Highland” and “Lowland”.
The Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the legislation saying it reinforces the integrity of Scotch and supports Scottish business.
“Protection and promotion of Scotch Whisky is at the heart of the new UK Regulations, which are in the best interests of whisky consumers, distillers, and the wider economy,” said Paul Walsh, chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association.
The industry plans to use the regulations as an opportunity to promote and improve understanding of the different categories of Scotch around the world.
Walsh said the rules would support Scotch whisky sales, help build consumer understanding of Scotch and ensure that they always receive the genuine article.
According to the Scotch Whisky Association, the key provision of the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 are:
- Five categories of Scotch Whisky are defined for the first time; Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.
- These compulsory category sales terms will be required to appear clearly and prominently on all labels.
- A requirement to only bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland.
- New rules to prevent the misleading labelling and marketing of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.
- A ban on the use of the term ‘Pure Malt’.
- A ban on the use of a distillery name as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky, which has not been wholly distilled in the named distillery.
- Protection of five traditional whisky regions of production; Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.
- A requirement that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland.
- Clear rules on the use of age statements on packaging.
- Designation of HM Customs & Excise as the verification authority for Scotch Whisky.