New Scottish regulations aimed at protecting Scotch whisky will come into force later this month. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy announced the new regulations, which will require single malts to be bottled in Scotland. At the same time, the Scottish government is also considering minimum pricing standards for all alcohol as a way to combat alcohol abuse, on the misguided theory that buyers of cheap alcohol are more prone to abusing it.
How important is scotch to Scotland's economy? It represents fully 20% of all export income.
Under the new rules, all scotch whiskies must carry a category description, such as "blended Scotch whisky." Use of the term "pure malt" will be banned, to prevent this description from being applied to blended whiskies in an attempt to make them appear superior to single malts.
There will also be new protection for the traditional regional names associated with Scotch whisky, and clear rules on statements about the age of the whisky.
The Scots want to get their own house in order before they take on India and other countries that make imitation scotch.
Although Scotland sells five times more of its whiskey to the rest of the world that the U.S. does, the U.S. has done a better job of protecting its product, probably as a result of learning from Scotland's mistakes.