Whisky industry trade body joins forces with craft distillers to promote the true spirit of Scotch

Whisky industry trade body joins forces with craft distillers to promote the true spirit of Scotch

Industry trade body the Scotch Whisky Association has signed a collaboration agreement with the craft spirits body the Scottish Craft Distillers Association.

The trade bodies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work in partnership “to support the continued success of the entire Scotch whisky industry and its supply chain”.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the trade body for large whisky distillers, and the Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA), which supports smaller and relatively new craft spirit producers, will support each other but remain as distinct organisations with their own memberships.

The agreement, signed at Glasgow Distillery’s new development at Hillington, recognises Scotch whisky as “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 SCDA was launched in 2014 by the Interface Food & Drink’s Craft Distillers Common Interest Group in association with Strathearn Distilleries and the International Centre for Brewing & Distilling to promote products and services, identify export markets and lobby on behalf of its members.

It currently has 18 distiller members listed on its website.

The SCDA is sponsored by Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) and the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling.

The SWA said the MoU is in recognition of a “record number of new distilleries” across Scotland, numbering 40 at various stages of planning and development.

The agreement signing was witnessed Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing.

The SWA said the MoU will make it easier for well-established Scotch whisky companies to share expertise in building brands and opening up overseas markets.

The newer companies will in turn offer fresh ideas and approaches to drive wider industry development.

The main commitments outlined in the MoU will see both trade bodies:

  • work together to grow understanding of the rules surrounding Scotch whisky, its production, handling and marketing within the industry and, through the supply chain, recognise shared interest in the public good of the Scotch whisky industry;
  • encourage shared approaches to stakeholder engagement, including 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 among existing memberships.Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the SWA, 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, chairman of the SCDA, 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.”

    Economy Minister Fergus Ewing said the agreement is “exactly the sort of collaboration we want to see in our food and drink sector”.

    He added: “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.”

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