A short and sweet blog today answering a question we’ve been asked a couple of times recently:

Can Scotch whisky be bottled outside Scotland?

No.

Very short and sweet. Goodnight everyone!

Bruichladdich Rye whisky

Scotch whisky must be bottled in Scotland.

Why must Scotch whisky be bottled in Scotland?

Ok, let’s not be silly. Let’s explain.

You see, it’s not a matter of national pride, it’s very much the law. 

Scotch whisky cannot be bottled outside Scotland if it is to be legally labelled and sold as “Scotch whisky.” 

According to the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 and other international agreements, for a whisky to be called Scotch, it must be distilled, matured, and bottled in Scotland.

To underline that point: if the whisky is bottled elsewhere, it cannot be legally marketed or sold as Scotch whisky.

The whisky might have been distilled and matured in Scotland. It might have been aged for at least three years in oak casks in Scotland. But if it wasn’t bottled in Scotland – no dice. 

A matter of reputation.

Why? Because Scotch whisky has a reputation to protect. It’s very important that when you see a whisky labelled as Scotch, you can be confident that it is genuinely proper Scotch whisky. Sometimes people get frustrated with the Scotch Whisky Association and its many rules and regulations, arguing this discourages innovation and could see the category fall behind in the future to more ‘open-minded’ whisky-producing countries. 

But it’s worth remembering how vital the strict laws governing the production and selling of Scotch whisky have been to the industry’s growth, standards, and reputation. Many other categories, such as historic rum-producing nations like Barbados, are now full of producers pushing for similar forms of structure because poor imitators undermine their reputation.

Scotch whisky is a product recognised and appreciated around the world thanks to the standard it is held to. And we’ll drink to the that!