Mark Reynier the outspoken MD of maverick independent distiller Bruichladdich, has clashed with the mighty Scotch Whisky Association this week over proposed new regulations which would allow a new category of whisky to be called 'Blended Malt'. Reynier argues that the term confuses the two basic categories of whisky (blends and malts). He further argues that the current draft of the regulations is too loose and would allow whisky companies to sell (for example) a product named as 'Bruichladdich Blended Malt' which could contain only a proportion of Bruichladdich with the bulk of the spirit coming from some other source of malt whisky.
Continue reading....The reaction of the SWA has been robust. Public Affairs manager David Williamson told The Ileach: 'The overwhelming majority of the industry is supportive of the Governmentâ€™s proposals for new Scotch Whisky Regulations. It is a broad package of proposals and SWA members strongly support the legislation. 'Our members believe the measures will ensure consumers worldwide receive clear, consistent and accurate product information about what they are buying. The aim is to tackle deceptive practices that could undermine consumer confidence in Scotch Whisky. 'The Regulations will also introduce even stronger protection for Scotch Whisky from unfair competition. For example, for the first time, this will include formal legal protection for the term 'Islay' and other regional names traditionally associated with Scotch Whisky production, as well as introduce rules to prevent the misleading marketing of Single Malts.' The issues are complex but there has been significant support for Reynierâ€™s position from whisky consumers and commentators including the influential journalists Jim Murray, David Broom and Serge Valentin. An on-line petition against the category 'blended malts' had gathered nearly 600 signatures as the Ileach went to press.
This story was published with kind permission from the Ileach local newspaper.