Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Scotch whisky, has become one of the first applications to be listed on New Zealand's register of Geographical Indications (GIs). Once accepted, it will have protection as a registered (GI) in New Zealand from the genesis of the country's registration regime.

New Zealand's GI scheme is designed to give greater legal protection to domestic and international wines and spirits brands and to protect consumers against fakes.

Scotch whisky applies for GI protection in New Zealand

GI recognition means the description 'Scotch Whisky' can only be used on whisky produced in Scotland in accordance with UK law. Requirements include that Scotch is only made from the raw materials of water, cereals and yeast and matured in Scotland for at least three years in oak casks.

Currently in New Zealand, if someone is selling fake 'Scotch' there is the option of taking legal proceedings for breach of the Fair-Trading Act which comes with some uncertainties.

The Scotch Whisky Association, has said that GI status is of great commercial value to the industry and gives consumers confidence in the quality and provenance of what they are buying. Scotch is officially recognised in the laws of nearly 100 countries.

Commenting on the news, Lindesay Low, Scotch Whisky Association Senior Legal Counsel, said: "As Scotch Whisky continues to grow in popularity, attempts are often made to try to take unfair advantage of its success, for example by trying to make and sell fakes. Recognition as a GI helps protect against such illegal activities. It's important that consumers have confidence in the provenance of what they are buying, which this recognition of Scotch as a 'geographical indication' will help to achieve.”

He went onto say: "We were quick off the mark to file our application to register Scotch Whisky as a GI in New Zealand as it offers such great protection to our product. We await the decision of the New Zealand authorities on our early application. We hope a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK will be signed following Brexit to further improve the status of Scotch Whisky in the market."

Exports of Scotch whisky to New Zealand, were up almost 18% last year to just under £6.3 million.

Posted by Steve Rush