Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Fighting Fake Scotch
The Scotch Whisky Association is fighting to eliminate brands that try to pretend they are Scotch by pushing for legislation that would reserve the use of words like Highlands and Islay for Scotch labels.
The term "Scotch" already has protection in international trade agreements, but that has not stopped some companies from trying to market spirits using the international popularity of Scotch whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association points to Highland Gold Finest Whisky, which is actually made in the Netherlands and Surinam, Lowlands Blended Whisky from Spain and Islay Whisky Cream, made in Italy, as brands sold across Europe that attempt to confuse consumers.
The move would protect the names of Scotch appellations, much the way Cognac for a regionally produced brandy or Champagne for a sparkling with from a certain geographic region enjoy protections in trade laws. Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown would get a designation permitting only brands produced in specified regions of Scotland the right to use those words on labels.
The European Union maintains a list of what it calls "Geographic Indicators" that the World Trade Organization follows in protecting unique products produced in a certain style that originates from a specific locality. Distillers believe that the designation will help protect the $4.2 billion export market for Scotch.