Scotch Whisky Verification Scheme: HMRC has published a consultation document on how to protect Scotch Whisky from inferior competitiors.The new proposals are designed to ensure that the 'real thing' goes through the 5 specified processes of fermintation, distillation, maturation, blending and bottling/labelling.
Scotch Whisky is protected under EU Legislation "Regulation (EC) No 110/2008" as a product of Geographical Indication (GI).
To market a GI product in the EU requires it to be verified as compliant with the technical file for that product.
Scotch whisky technical file - Publications - GOV.UKwhisky-technical-file-130829.pdf
This verification of Scotch Whisky will be carried out by HMRC and will cover the 5 key processes - fermentation, distillation, maturation, blending and bottling.
Initial Verification visits will be carried out once UK Legislation is in place and every 2 years after that.
The EU Legislation requires the cost of verification to be borne by the producers of the product.
Although final costs have not been published yet initial estimates suggest that the cost will be £1,400 per process per site every 2 years.
So an independent Malt distillery who carries out Fermentation, distillation and Maturation would be due £3,200 every 2 years.
HMRC will be publishing a Notice and a press release explaining this scheme towards the end of October and there will also be publicity and guidance published by the SWA for members and non-members.
After this is published the industry will be able to apply for verification on-line.
However verification visits will not start until the charging regulations "Spirit Drinks (Costs of Verification) Regulations become law which will be the end of November at the earliest.