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India agrees to protect Scotch

India has agreed to uphold Scotch’s “geographical indication” (GI), a move which guarantees that any locally made whisky is not labelled as such.

Following Korea’s lead, the Indian government has given the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) the upper hand in an overall drinks market usually valued at US$22 billion.

Until now all whiskies sold on the subcontinent were labelled as “Scotch”, even though the majority of Indian-made whisky is distilled from molasses and then mixed with malt-based spirits.

The Indian distilleries will still be able to use Scottish symbols and imagery on their labels but the decision, taken late last month, has been seen as a positive move by the SWA.

SWA chief executive, Gavin Hewitt, said: “India is one of our priority markets. There is a huge demand for Scotch whisky from discerning Indian consumers. It is important that they have confidence in the quality and integrity of what they are buying.”

The SWA applied for GI status in 2009 and since then has seen a 40% increase in Scotch exports to India – a total of 40 million bottles.



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