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Virginia Distillery ‘passing off whiskey as Scotch’, says SWA

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is taking legal action against American producer the Virginia Distillery Company over its use of the word ‘Highland’.

Virginia Distillery Company has come under fire from the SWA

The trade body argues that Virginia Distillery’s products are “being passed off as Scotch whisky” since the term ‘Highlands’ is “reserved exclusively for Scotch whisky under US federal regulations”.

The distillery imports whisky from Scotland, blends it with American single malt and finishes the liquid in Virginia using a variety of cask types.

Virginia Distillery is producing its own American single malt whiskey at its site in Lovingston and will release the product in 2020.

A spokesperson for the SWA said: “The SWA works to protect the intellectual property of Scotch whisky, and consistently takes action across the globe. This is vital to protecting Scotland’s national drink and is a deterrent to those who seek to take advantage of the quality reputation of Scotch whisky.”

They continued: “These proceedings were not taken lightly, but only after more than 12 months of attempts by the SWA to resolve this issue privately with the company in question. The association would still welcome a resolution of the matter without the need for federal court involvement.”

The case has been lodged with the district court in Delaware. The Spirits Business has approached the Virginia Distillery Company for comment.

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