Associations Partner to Support Scotch Distilleries

Two Scottish distillers groups have joined together to bolster the reputation and quality of the Scotch Whisky industry.

In light of recent industry growth, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and the Scottish Craft Distillers Association (SCDA) have partnered together to better support distillers.

The joint effort will reinforce the reputation of the Scotch Whisky industry as well as allow for better exchange between established distilleries, who can share branding and expanding techniques and lessons, and younger companies, who offer new approaches and ideas.

“Both long-established Scotch Whisky producers and the new wave of smaller distilleries recognize the enormous value and importance of the high regard our national product is held in around the world,” SCDA Chairman Alan Wolstenholme said in a press release. “This agreement demonstrates both organizations’ determination to work co-operatively together to protect and enhance Scotch Whisky’s reputation now and in the future.”

The partnership will help maintain the quality of the industry and strengthen the public’s confidence in the product by sharing Scotch production, handling, and marketing rules with all parties in the supply chain—namely collaborating on advocacy and educating members on new rules—as well as promoting stakeholder engagement and best practices around product marketing.

Together, the two associations will also work to build a skilled industry workforce by opening professional development opportunities like certifications and networking events, improving and increasing the available industry information, and encouraging collaboration between the two memberships through combined meetings and events.

“We are seeing unprecedented investment in the Scotch Whisky industry by companies of all sizes,” SWA Acting Chief Executive Julie Hasketh-Laird said in the statement. “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,” she continued. “Our collaboration with the SCDA reflects the strong partnership that has developed between new and established distillers.”

While the two associations will continue to function separately, the hope is this effort will open full SWA membership to eligible Scotch Whiskey-producing members of SCDA.

This year, eight new distilleries are expected to open in Scotland, with 40 others at various levels of planning and development. In addition, the industry brings in £5 billion and supports more than 40,000 jobs annually.

“Craft Distilling has blossomed over the past few years and is becoming an increasingly valuable part of our economy, particularly for those who live in our rural and island communities,” Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, said in the release. “Today marks the start of a partnership that will support the industry into the future, building on Scotch Whisky’s long-term, global reputation for provenance and high quality products.”


Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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