Whilst many of us may be aiming to start 2014 with a detox, the new scheme launched by the UK government to increase consumer and industry protection for spirit drinks to be sold in the EU is to be welcomed. The scheme aims to improve consumer protection against counterfeit, adulterated or sub-standard products claiming to be genuine spirit drinks.
Whilst there are already UK and EU wide protection as to what can and cannot be labelled and sold as certain types of spirits, particularly for Scotch whisky, this new scheme adds to that protection by allowing HMRC to check that all businesses producing spirits (the producers, blenders, bottlers, labellers and bulk importers) do adhere to the strict requirements for particular spirits. This will extend not only to the bottling and labelling of the finished product but also to the fermentation process in the distilleries.
As the booming Scotch whisky industry is estimated to be worth around £4billion to the Scottish economy it is fantastic news that Scotch whisky is the first product to be covered by the new verification scheme. All producers who wish to be able to sell their products in the EU will have to sign up to the new scheme. Once the checks have been carried out a list of verified brands, production facilities and bulk importers will be produced.
In due course the scheme will be extended to other drinks with protected geographical origin such as brandy or Somerset cider.
Consumers will have greater comfort that they are obtaining genuine premium whisky and the industry will also have even better ability to stop and tackle the sale of fake Scotch Whisky abroad.
The new scheme and protection will certainly last longer than this blogger’s resolutions… cheers!
More details can be found here.
On January 10, 2014