SWA signs deal with Scottish craft distillers association

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) have formed a partnership agreeing to work together to support to Scotch whisky industry, recognising its rapid expansion over the past three years.

(L-R) Fergus Ewing MSP (Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity), Rosemary Gallagher (head of communications, Scotch Whisky Association) and Alan Wolstenholme (chairman of the Scottish Craft Distillers Association).

A total of 14 distilleries have started production since 2013 with 40 new distilleries currently at various stages of planning and development across Scotland. Of those, eight are expected to open this year.

Yesterday, the SWA and the SCDA, an association representing only newer, smaller producers, signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” confirming their commitment to work together to support the industry going forward.

“We are seeing unprecedented investment in the Scotch Whisky industry by companies of all sizes,” said Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association acting chief executive. 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.”

The agreement, signed at the new Glasgow Distillery in Hillington, recognises that Scotch whisky is “a significant Scottish and British cultural asset based on authentic and unvarying local methods of production, with distilleries and brands supporting the communities with which they work; creating jobs and boosting growth”.

Scotch whisky adds £5 billion in value each year to the Scottish and UK economies, supporting more than 40,000 jobs and exporting £4 billion of Scotch annually to almost 200 markets.

The agreement is intended to make it easier for well-established Scotch whisky companies to share their experience of building brands and help open up overseas markets for smaller producers.

Alan Wolstenholme, Scottish Craft Distillers Association chairman, added: “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.”

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