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MoU signed by associations

Whisky sector signs pact to ‘work together’

Julie Hesketh-Laird

Hesketh-Laird: unprecedented investment (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)

Benefits from partnership

Scotland’s biggest and oldest Scotch whisky distillers have signed a pact with new entrants to share experiences and new ideas that will benefit the whole sector. 

The agreement between the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) will see well-established companies help in the process of building brands and opening up overseas markets. Newer companies will offer fresh approaches and ideas.

The agreement recognises the record expansion of the industry with 14 distilleries starting production since 2013 and a further eight set to open this year. There are up to 40 at various stages of planning and development.

Industry trade body, the SWA, and the SCDA, an association representing newer, smaller producers, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Scotch Whisky adds £5 billion a year to the economy, supporting more than 40,000 jobs and exporting £4 billion of Scotch annually to almost 200 markets.

The SWA and SCDA agreed to support each other, while remaining distinct organisations with their own memberships, to build on Scotch Whisky’s long-term, global reputation for provenance and high quality products. The agreement, signed at the new Glasgow Distillery in Hillington, recognises that Scotch Whisky is:

“a significant Scottish and British cultural asset based on authentic and unvarying local methods of production, with distilleries and brands supporting the communities with which they work; creating jobs and boosting growth”.

The main commitments of the MoU are to:

  • work together to grow understanding of the rules surrounding Scotch Whisky, its production, handling and marketing within the industry and through the supply chain, recognising shared interest in the public good of the Scotch Whisky industry;
  • encourage shared approaches to stakeholder engagement, including around raising awareness of best practice on responsible marketing and promotion of Scotch Whisky;
  • work together to ensure the Scotch Whisky workforce is appropriately skilled;
  • improve industry information;
  • collaborate amongst existing memberships.

Fergus Ewing, Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “This is exactly the sort of collaboration we want to see in our food and drink sector. Closer co-operation has the potential to benefit both organisations and help ensure the continued success of the Scotch Whisky industry and its supply chain.

“Craft Distilling has blossomed over the past few years and is becoming an increasingly valuable part of our economy, particularly for those who live in our rural and island communities.

“Today marks the start of a partnership that will support the industry into the future, building on Scotch Whisky’s long-term, global reputation for provenance and high quality products.”

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association acting chief executive, said: “We are seeing unprecedented investment in the Scotch Whisky industry by companies of all sizes. This is a clear sign of optimism in the future, and recognition of the global demand for a high-quality product.  

“The SWA has over a century’s wealth of experience and expertise – for example in market access, legal protection, and promoting social responsibility – that we are looking to share more widely with new entrants to the industry. 

“Our collaboration with the SCDA reflects the strong partnership that has developed between new and established distillers.”  

Alan Wolstenholme, Scottish Craft Distillers Association chairman, said:

“Both long-established Scotch Whisky producers and the new wave of smaller distilleries recognise the enormous value and importance of the high regard our national product is held in around the world.

“This agreement demonstrates both organisations’ determination to work co-operatively together to protect and enhance Scotch Whisky’s reputation now and in the future.

“The SCDA warmly welcomes the genuine support and encouragement it has received not only from everyone across the industry, and in particular from the SWA, but also from the Scottish Government and its agencies especially Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society.”

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