The Scottish Whisky Association
This is a name which crops up with great regularity on whisky websites and in the Scottish news generally however what do they do? You may say the clue is in the name and in its simplest form is an association formed from companies in the Scottish Whisky Industry. The association which is over 90 years old was set up to protect the interests of the Scottish Whisky Industry as a whole. Its major role of late has been to protect the Scotch whisky industry from ‘fake’ whiskies produced around the world and then a ‘Scotch whisky’ label is attached to the whisky. Only whisky from Scotland can be labelled Scotch whisky however this hasn’t stopped copycat versions of Scotch whisky appearing all over the world. India in particular has a long history of producing ‘Scotch whisky’ however is by no means alone in this practice which continues today. The Scottish Whisky Association takes legal action against these companies when left with no alternative however usually with the support of the British Embassy in that country will try to negotiate a change of labelling.
The other major role of the Scottish Whisky Association is to tackle protectionist laws in countries which tax imports of Scottish Whisky very highly against other alcohol products. This is common practice in many nations often to protect their own drinks industry, a good example of this Russia where vodka is given favourable tax treatment. Through the World Trade Organisation the Scottish Whisky Association is usually fighting many battles on many fronts to ensure the Scotch whisky industry has fair and open access to the markets. So in short the two main priorities of the Scottish Whisky Association are to fight tax discrimination and product falsification both damaging to the sales of whisky. This has even led to the Scottish Whisky Association fighting the Scottish Government over the taxation of whisky. Yes the irony.