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Whisky: Scotland

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 176586, tabled on 8 October 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the Scotch whisky industry.

Answered on

16 October 2018

Government support of the Scotch Whisky industry is through both government policy and engagement with the industry, notably the Scotch Whisky Association.

We fully recognise the added value given to Scotch Whisky by its registration as a Geographical Indication (GI). The EU (Withdrawal) Act and legislation made under it will establish in domestic law the framework of rules that govern the EU GI scheme for spirit drinks; this will ensure that all UK GIs, including Scotch Whisky, enjoy continued protection in the UK after we leave.

Through engaging closely with the Scotch Whisky Association my officials have secured some important amendments to the proposed replacement EU Spirit Drinks Regulation and will continue to work closely with the Association on this.

The government is aware of the contribution that the Scotch Whisky industry makes to the economy and employment. Her Majesty’s Treasury are responsible for duty on alcoholic beverages and the Chancellor keeps all taxes under review at fiscal events. The government is committed to supporting the Scotch Whisky industry. The freeze in spirits duty announced in November 2017 means a bottle of Scotch is 24p cheaper than had it risen by inflation, and the average tax charged on a bottle of Scotch in 2018 is estimated to be £1.15 lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the spirits duty escalator in 2014.

In respect of international trade priorities, through the Food is GREAT campaign, we will continue profiling Scotch Whisky overseas and engaging with the industry.