Canadian distiller clashes with Scotch whisky industry

A CANADIAN distiller has clashed with the main body that represents the Scotch whisky industry over its attempts to sell into in the German market.

Macaloney’s Caledonian Distillery has suspended exports to Germany via its local distributor amid opposition from the Scotch Whisky Association, which has expressed concern that consumers may conclude its product is whisky made in Scotland – and not Canadian whiskey.

The SWA declared in a statement that it has “objected to the company’s use of certain words and terms that are strongly associated with Scotland on its whisky, when the company’s whisky is actually a Canadian product”.

But Macaloney’s, which is run by Scottish ex-pat Graeme Macaloney, said it is considering making a formal complaint to German and EU trade commissioners, stating that the action by the SWA “cannot be allowed to stand”.

The opposition of the SWA is understood to centre on the use by Macaloney’s of the name Macaloney, and words such as island, Glenloy, Invermallie, Caledonian, on the basis they are “evocative of Scotland”.

In a statement, the Canadian distiller said Mr Macaloney, the official historian or seanchaidh for his clan in Canada, named his whiskies Glenloy and Invermallie after locations where his clan lived for upwards of 1,000 years.

It declared that no other whisky has ever used those names, adding that Macaloney’s distillery includes the name Caledonian which is used by many British Columbia businesses after the original name for the province given by Scottish settlers.

Mr Macaloney said: “I have every right to celebrate our heritage. This kind of punitive act by the SWA, whose governing council is controlled by the four largest Scotch multi-national corporations, cannot be allowed to stand. To suggest that Glen, originally an Irish word in common usage internationally by Scots and Irish diaspora, is inappropriate is resulting in international consumers being denied access to our ‘Canadian Best’ Glenloy and Invermallie whiskies.”

The SWA said in a statement: “The SWA consistently takes action around the world to prevent the use of Scottish indications of origin on whisky which is not Scotch whisky. This is vital to protect the best interests of our members, including small distilleries trying to build their brands and business in global markets.

“In taking any legal action, we want to ensure that consumers across the world are clear about whether or not they are buying whisky that is produced in Scotland. It is important that anyone who wants to purchase a bottle of Scotch whisky can do so with the confidence that what they are buying is authentic, and that products which aren’t Scotch whisky are clearly differentiated.

“In this instance, we have objected to the company’s use of certain words and terms that are strongly associated with Scotland on its whisky, when the company’s whisky is actually a Canadian product. We never take legal proceedings lightly and the SWA is always open to a resolution which protects Scotch whisky and consumers without the need for further action. We will continue with efforts to reach an agreement.”





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