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Stauning calls on distillers to stop whisky production

Danish whisky producer Stauning has halted production to urge the Canada and Denmark governments to resolve a dispute from 1930, and is calling on distillers worldwide to follow suit.

Stauning distillery
Stauning has halted its whisky production for the first time since it launched in 2004

Stauning halted its production on 1 February in an attempt to resolve a dispute between the two governments over Hans Island in the Arctic Sea.

According to Stauning, the dispute started in 1930 and escalated in 1984 when Canada planted their flag with a bottle of Canadian whisky as the nation’s claim to the island.

After the whisky was discovered, the Danish minister of Greenland placed a Danish flag on the island, along with a bottle of Schnapps and a letter that said ‘Welcome to the Danish island’.

This move kickstarted an exchange of alcohol between the two nations, a recurring event dubbed ‘Whisky War’.

Stauning decided to get involved in the spat and threatened to stop production to draw attention to the long-running dispute, and put pressure on the two nations to conclude the matter.

Alex Munch, co-founder of Stauning, said: “We may spend a lot of time in the distillery, but we didn’t learn about the story of Hans Island until recently. Whisky is not about hostility but the exact opposite. It’s about friendship and curiosity – and we won’t accept that there’s a war going on between Denmark and Canada in the name of whisky.

“So, we want to put renewed pressure on the two governments to proceed with the negotiations and put a stop to it.”

According to Stauning, the Danish government appointed a committee in 2018 to bring the conflict to an end but it remains unsettled.

As such, Stauning is calling on whisky distillers across the globe to join them in stopping production as part of the #whiskypeace initiative.

Munch added: “It’s a call to the politicians, but we also want to gather colleagues and whisky lovers, to get involved with the #whiskypeace initiative.

“We want to find a solution because a war should never be in the name of whisky. For the first time, and hopefully the last, we are interfering with international politics.”

Denmark’s Stauning Distillery is part-owned by Diageo-backed Distill Ventures, which invested around £50 million (US$64m) in the producer.

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