Chapel Gate calls for transparency in blended whisk(e)yBy Owen Bellwood
Louise McGuane, founder of Ireland’s first modern whiskey bonder, The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company, has called for the EU to amend laws stating what information can be printed on blended whisk(e)y labels.
According to EU law, blenders can only disclose the youngest component whisk(e)y making up a blend, or nothing at all.
Whisk(e)y blenders, including The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company and Compass Box, have called for changes to the regulations in order to increase transparency across the blended whisk(e)y market.
McGuane, who founded Chapel Gate in 2015, said: “I have been extremely transparent about what I do, but there have been some issues with that.
“I was pulled up on my label because I was 100% transparent about the components, but there are a lot of forces in the industry who aren’t interested in completely divulging the components of some blended whiskies.”
Last year, the EU announced that it would invite the drinks industry to develop a “self-regulatory proposal, aimed at providing information on ingredients and nutrition of all alcoholic beverages”.
McGuane said: “There is a push to change that going through the industry at the moment. It is an all-industry alignment, like this, that is the key to allow for the addition of full disclosure of blend make-up.”
McGuane’s comments follow those of Compass Box founder, John Glaser, who said: “Customers have the right to know exactly what they’re drinking.”
Compass Box previously published, and then removed, the full recipes for two of its blended whiskies following a complaint from an anonymous brand owner.
The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company faced similar issues when label designs that stated every ingredient in its blended whiskey were rejected.
McGuane said: “I want to be 100% transparent about what I’m doing, but EU legislation currently doesn’t allow for that. That has been a real challenge.”
The Chapel Gate Whiskey Company is the first modern whiskey bonder in Ireland and the country’s only all-female Irish whiskey company.