SWA clarifies EU law following Compass Box breach

30th October, 2015 by Annie Hayes

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has spoken out to clarify its position after Compass Box whisky withdrew detailed information about two new whiskies from its website due to a breach of EU law.

compass box

Compass Box has removed the full recipes for This Is Not A Luxury Whisky and Flaming Heart from its website

Compass Box Whisky Co published and subsequently removed the full recipes for This Is Not A Luxury Whisky and Flaming Heart on its website – including details of the distilleries involved, the cask types, the ages and their proportions in the final blend.

The SWA has stated that prior to the launch of the brand’s new bottlings, it informed Compass Box of the breach following a complaint from an unnamed brand owner.

Magnus Cormack, SWA director of legal affairs, told The Spirits Business: “We did not tell Compass Box to remove the detailed recipes. Following a complaint from a brand owner, we contacted Compass Box to point out that the advertising did not comply with the law.

“As we raised the matter before the product was launched, we observed that ‘there is therefore still time to correct the labelling and advertising in order to comply with the law.’ The action Compass Box took was up to them.

“We did however point out that compliance with the specifications for Scotch whisky is now verified by HMRC. Compass Box have evidently decided that the risks involved in ignoring the longstanding law on this matter were too great.”

Cormack explained that under Regulation 12.3 of the Spirit Drinks Regulation No 110/2008, maturation period or age “may only be specified in the description, presentation or labelling of a spirit drink where it refers to the youngest alcoholic component”.

Furthermore, “presentation” is defined in Annex 1 point (15) of the Regulation as “the terms used on the labelling and on the packaging, including in advertising and sales promotion, in images or such like, as well as on the container, including the bottle and the closure”.

Cormack also advised that the legislation applies to all aged spirits in the EU – so neither the UK nor the SWA can derogate from it.

He added: “The law is an EU law. The UK has no power to derogate from this rule, and it is therefore repeated in the Scotch Whisky Regulations and in the Technical File for Scotch Whisky.

“A change would require agreement by the 28 Member States, and pre-supposes that all other spirits sectors would be in agreement.”

It is possible to imagine a number of reasons why the EU legislator adopted this rule 26 years ago, including the possibility that, given the different maturation practices across the various spirits sectors, advertising of the type in question might lead consumers to erroneous conclusions about the quality of certain types of spirit drink as against others.”

Compass Box has been contacted for comment.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Gruppo Campari delists Grand Marnier parent

Davide Campari-Milano has delisted Grand Marnier’s parent company from more...

SMWS targets strong growth in US market

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has confirmed a long-term partnership more...

Confessions of a spirits retailer: Dan Murphy's

Adam Jenkins, head of spirits for Australian drinks retailer Dan Murphy’s, more...

Devotion Vodka adds nutritional info to labels

Devotion Vodka, touted as the “first” American gluten-free and sugar-free more...

Finalists of Great British Cocktail comp revealed

A panel of expert judges has selected 10 cocktail recipes to be served at the more...

Scottish govt. looks to Scotch in wake of Brexit

Member of Scottish Parliament Fergus Ewing has said his government is looking more...

New innovation opportunities for Scotch whisky

Cross-category inspiration, transparency and the growing need to capture a more...

Millennials lead Germany's craft spirits boom

Millennial consumers can be a fickle bunch to please, but will their burgeoning more...

Top emoji cocktail recipes for World Emoji Day

Beam Suntory-owned melon liqueur Midori has created emoji-inspired cocktail more...

Captain Morgan asks for change in Constitution

In a bid to further align itself with millennial drinkers, Captain Morgan rum more...

Hpnotiq liqueur partners with 2 Chainz

Hpnotiq liqueur has launched the second phase of its #SINCE2001 campaign this more...

Up to 1,700 staff affected by Diageo pension cuts

Diageo has confirmed that up to one third of its UK workforce could be affected more...

Jefferson’s to mature Bourbon casks on water

Jefferson’s Bourbon will explore the different ways whiskey matures on water more...

Top six new spirits books for summer 2016

It's holiday season – so what better time to start that new book? If you're more...

Alcohol e-commerce 'could hit $15bn' in US

The advent of on-demand alcohol delivery services in the US will contribute to more...

The week in pictures

From an array of cocktail competitions to extreme croquet – and the latest more...

Heinemann lifts holiday spirits with summer promo

Travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann has launched a Hello Summer initiative across more...

Bacardi-Martini assigns Patrón activation partner

Bacardi-Martini UK has appointed launch marketing agency Five by Five to more...

Snow Queen Martini Masters returns for 2016

The Snow Queen Martini Masters cocktail competition is now open for entries, more...

Beefeater unveils movie-inspired bottle

Beefeater Gin has launched a limited edition bottle to kick off its digital more...