What is it?
You know what’s in your food, but you never know what’s in your whisky. Did you know that a 21-year-old Scotch whisky normally also contains much older spirits? Strict regulations in the UK prohibits Scotch whisky companies to put more than just the youngest maturing age on the label, so older spirits don’t count in this case. These aren’t the only regulations on Scotch whisky. To be allowed to name your spirit Scotch whisky, the actual liquid must be matured in American oak barrels for at least 3 years. Usually, a whisky has an age statement, for example 21 years, or a non-age-statement, in which case the distillery doesn’t want to give that information.
An American who lives in the UK and is a “whiskymaker” at the company Compass Box Whisky, wanted to let his consumers know the different ages of whisky that were put into his products. However, when he promoted his whiskies this way, the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) pointed the regulations out to him. He wasn’t allowed to be transparent about the different ages of the whisky in that bottle on the label, so he started the Compass Box’s campaign for increased transparency.
Compass Box Whisky: EU Scotch Whisky Transparency Campaign
Why it’s Cool?
Secrecy behind a product is cool but in this case it’s much cooler to truly know what’s in your beverage and have full disclosure on what you’re drinking from the passionate “whiskymakers” behind the products. The transparent labels are increasingly important to the “in–the-know–consumer“. These labels are about where your product comes from and how it’s made, so why shouldn’t these regulations be revised? Especially when considering the labels on food products and non-alcoholic beverages are obliged to contain much more information according to UK laws.
Why it has future growth potential?
Labels become more meaningful when producers are allowed to put incorporate storytelling in them. Right now, companies are trying to tell these stories about their whisky online, like the Bruichladdich distillery, that pledged support for the Compass Box’s campaign. They put all of the information on how they make their whisky, from grain to bottle, on their website. For consumers it would be a lot easier to find this information on their bottle and it would make the whisky making process easily available for the interested drinker. And not just the consumer, but clear labelling would also generate more information for bartenders to tell their customers, which could lead to larger sales.
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