SWA secures GI for Scotch in New ZealandBy Nicola Carruthers
Scotch whisky has been given a registered trademark in New Zealand, making it the first foreign geographical indication (GI) to be successfully approved in the country.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) applied to be listed on New Zealand’s GI register in August last year, which has now been approved by the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office.
The GI recognition means the description ‘Scotch whisky’ can only be used on whisky produced in Scotland in accordance with strict production and labelling requirements.
Requirements include that Scotch can only be made from the raw materials of water, cereals and yeast, and must be matured in Scotland for at least three years in oak casks.
Scotch whisky exports in New Zealand increased by 27% in 2017 to almost £8 million (US$11mn).
New Zealand now joins more than 100 other countries, which have officially recognised Scotch whisky as a Scottish product, including Australia and Taiwan.
Lindesay Low, legal deputy director of the SWA, said: “Until recently a gap existed within the New Zealand Food Standards Code which made it comparatively difficult to prevent the sale of spirits being passed off as ‘Scotch’ in New Zealand.
“In working to close this loophole, the industry has enjoyed great support from the British High Commission in Wellington, as well as the Intellectual Property Office New Zealand.
“Our successful application to register ‘Scotch whisky’ as a GI in New Zealand gives the industry a much greater level of legal protection and represents an important milestone for Scotch whisky as its popularity increases.
“It is vital that consumers have confidence in the provenance of what they are buying, which this recognition of Scotch as a geographical indication will help to achieve.
“Looking ahead, we hope that a comprehensive free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK will be signed, following Brexit, to further improve the status of Scotch whisky and help to build on recent market growth.”
Laura Clarke, British high commissioner to New Zealand, added: “By successfully registering Scotch whisky as a GI we have ensured that there is a strong base of legal protection on which future growth can be built.”