Scotch whisky trade groups partner up

10th February, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

Trade groups the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) have launched a partnership in recognition of Scotland’s “new wave of smaller distilleries”.

SWA’s Julie Hesketh-Laird (centre) and SCDA’s Alan Wolstenholm (right) signed the memorandum with Fergus Ewing MSP (left) as a witness

Both groups have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to “support the continued success of the entire Scotch whisky industry and its supply chain”, at the same time retaining their own memberships.

The agreement – witnessed by Fergus Ewing MSP, Scottish secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity department – is said to recognise the “record expansion” of the industry, which is experiencing investment from companies “of all sizes”.

A total of 14 new Scotch whisky distilleries have started production since 2013, with a further eight set to open this year. There are currently up to 40 new distilleries at various stages of planning and development across Scotland.

“We are seeing unprecedented investment in the Scotch Whisky industry by companies of all sizes,” said Julie Hesketh-Laird, acting chief executive of the SWA. “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.”

The MoU will “make it easier” for well-established Scotch producers to share their experience of building brands and opening up overseas markets with newer market entrants. Meanwhile, newer companies will be enabled to offer “fresh approaches and ideas to drive continued vitality across the industry”.

“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,” added Alan Wolstenholme, chairman of the SCDA.

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

Comprised of new or emerging Scottish distillers, SCDA launched in 2014 to further Scotland’s involvement in the craft spirits movement and represent the interests of its craft distillers.

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