Tam's Tall Tales

- Scotch Whisky Gets Legal Protection in Oz

Oi Bruce, A little respect for the Scotch

Scotch Whisky registered as a trade mark.

Sometimes people just have no respect and all over the world and any old rubbish is passed off as Scotch Whisky, much to the consternation of distillers all through the Scottish glens.

However, Scotch whisky has recently been registered as a certification trade mark in Australia, giving consumers and the industry better protection against fakes.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the industry trade body, said there has been a serious problem with fake 'Scotch Whisky' being sold in Australia in recent years. Australia has been one of the worst markets for fake 'Scotch'. The SWA has taken action to stop the sale of 40 brands of fake 'Scotch' in Australia since 2005. It is believed this is the result of specific protection for Scotch whisky being removed from the country's Food Standards Code in 2000 and a lack of enforcement activity by the authorities. As a result, the onus for policing the market has fallen entirely on the trade. Graphic of Sydney Harbour Bridge via Wikimedia Commons. The graphic of Sydney Harbour Bridge is via Wikimedia Commons.

The SWA sought assistance from the UK Government and the European Commission. They gave ongoing support, with Foreign Secretary William Hague raising the issue on a visit to Australia and the EC drawing it to the attention of the Australian Government in bilateral meetings.

The portrait here is of a former Prime Minister of Australia, Robert Gordon Menzies, son of Scottish crofters who had emmigrated to Australia in the mid-1850s; the painting is in Menzies Castle in Perthshire.

Scotch Whisky exports to Australia were worth 84 million in 2013, up 7% from 79m in 2012, making it the twelfth largest overseas market by value.

Alan Park, legal adviser at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "I have been involved in actions against many fake 'Scotch Whisky' products in Australia in recent years. Registration of Scotch Whisky as a certification trade mark is a major breakthrough and will make it easier to crack down on fakes and therefore protect consumers, although the onus to prevent the sale of fakes still rests on the industry."

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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