Diageo: Scotch rule change a ‘good outcome’

3rd July, 2019 by Amy Hopkins

The global head of innovation at Diageo has called the recent amendment to the Scotch whisky regulations a “good outcome” and predicted “future changes”.

There is a “healthy tension between tradition and consumer demand” in Scotch, Diageo’s global head of innovation has said

Last month, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) announced that the Scotch Whisky Technical File had been amended to broaden the types of casks that could be used to age Scotch whisky.

It now permits Scotch to be matured in oak casks that have previously held wine, beer, ale and spirits.

However, the rule excludes casks used to mature wine, beer, ale, or spirits produced from stone fruits, or those in which fruit, flavouring or sweetening have been added after fermentation or after distillation.

The regulation also states that the end product “must have the traditional colour, taste and aroma characteristics of Scotch whisky”.

Diageo’s global innovation head, Michael Ward, welcomed the move, calling discussions regarding Scotch regulations “a bit of on-going journey”.

“I think what’s been consistent about the SWA and Scotch is when there’s a need to evolve we will evolve,” he said.

“I think there’s a good, healthy tension between tradition and consumer demand. It keeps the category forward-looking and is a good outcome.”

Ward also said he thought there would be “future changes like this for the right consumer reasons”, which he said he was “comfortable” with.

Early last year, a story broke in The Wall Street Journal claiming Diageo had assembled a “secret task force” to assess potential changes to the law. 

The Spirits Business explores the regulation amendment in detail in the July edition of the magazine, out now.

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