English whisky breaks into US market3rd January, 2013 by Rupert Millar
The English Whisky Company is celebrating its entry into the US market, but only after a five-year fight over what constitutes a single malt.
Under US law whisky producers outside Scotland and Ireland have to produce whisky in new oak barrels in order to call it single malt.
As a result the single malts exported to the US will be different to those matured in bourbon and Sherry casks that The English Whisky Company usually markets in the UK and its 12 other export markets including Japan and Canada.
The head of the company’s St George’s distillery, Andrew Nelstrop, has bowed to the law in order to export to the US and said he and chief distiller David Fitt had been experimenting with whisky in new oak and the legal wranglings had taken so long that the spirit was ready anyway.
Nonetheless, Nelstrop, who has lobbied the Foreign Office, UK trade bodies and US embassy in a bid to fight the current rules, called again on the US to change the law saying that there is one law for Scotch and Irish producers and one for everyone-else.
A series of launches will take place in Boston, Washington DC and New York in March this year, with Nelstrop hoping to export some 20,000 bottles.