Scotch whisky trade bodies toast new partnership

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) have officially teamed up to support the Scotch Whisky industry and help small distilleries prosper.

Both trade bodies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) witnessed by Fergus Ewing MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.

The SWA and SCDA will work together to “to support the continued success of the entire Scotch Whisky industry and its supply chain” while remaining distinct organisations with their own memberships.

The MoU aims to make it easier for well-established Scotch Whisky companies to share their experience of building brands and opening up overseas markets with newer entrants to the industry.

Newer companies can, in turn, “offer fresh approaches and ideas to drive continued vitality across the industry”.

Alan Wolstenholme, Scottish Craft Distillers Association Chairman, said, “Both long-established Scotch Whisky producers and the new wave of smaller distilleries recognise the enormous value and importance of the high regard our national product is held in around the world.

“This agreement demonstrates both organisations’ determination to work co-operatively together to protect and enhance Scotch Whisky’s reputation now and in the future.”

The agreement also recognises the record expansion of the Scotch Whisky industry with 14 distilleries starting production since 2013 and a further eight set to open this year.

There are currently up to 40 new distilleries at various stages of planning and development across Scotland.

Julie Hesketh-laird, SWA Acting Chief Executive, said, “We are seeing unprecedented investment in the Scotch Whisky industry by companies of all sizes. This is a clear sign of optimism in the future, and recognition of the global demand for a high-quality product.

“The SWA has over a century’s wealth of experience and expertise – for example in market access, legal protection, and promoting social responsibility – that we are looking to share more widely with new entrants to the industry.

“Our collaboration with the SCDA reflects the strong partnership that has developed between new and established distillers.”