Spirit Business is a trade magazine funded by subscription but mainly advertising revenue.
In the third edition, the editorial carried a piece about the SWA's new regulations, including the new category Blended Malt etc. In it the editor mentions an "extraordinary outburst" from Bruichladdich about the new regulations. Quoting the SWA's David Williamson, she reports that raising the issue of the new Scotch Whisky regulations - and Blended Malt in particular - was no more than a search for free publicity, and has nothing to do with concern for the consumer, or protecting Scotch whisky.
We raised the issue at the time because no one else seemed remotely interested; certainly no whisky journalist, of which there are very few. It was clear that no one seemed to have been bothered to read the regulations during the so-called consultation period. Drinks industry journalists were, and probably still are, totally ignorant of the implications of the regulations. After all, they must not bite the hand that feeds them.
The issue is more to do with the SWA's abuse of power than anything else. Why should the Scotch Whisky Association be allowed to change the law to suit its major shareholders?
We were never asked for our views by the editor on these very important regulations (balanced journalism there then). Instead, only the SWA were quoted, who of course are going to deny there is anything wrong with their own proposed legislation, and undermine any one who has the temerity to question them. Hand. Feed. Bite.
Still, I am glad to see that the SWA have insisted in print that "there is no question of a distillery name permitted for use on a blended malt whisky". So the proposed regulations must have been incompetently drafted then, or at the very least, hopelessly - or deliberately - unclear on this matter. For anyone who has bothered to read them closely has ultimately drawn the same conclusion as us. Of course with these slippery eels one has also to read between the lines: no distillery name permitted, eh? What about one that sounds similar? Or at least infers a single malt heritage?
The SWA's Chairman was Paul Walsh, who also happens to be the CEO of Diageo. He is then interviewed on pages 8 and 9. Then on pages 10, 11 ,12, 13 and 14 there are Diageo products and interviews. Oh that glorious impartiality!