Virginia Distillery Co. Reaches Resolution With Scotch Whisky Association - The Whiskey Wash

Virginia Distillery Co. Reaches Resolution With Scotch Whisky Association

By Nino Marchetti / September 9, 2019

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the trade body for pretty much anything Scotch whisky in the United Kingdom and beyond, is known for pretty aggressively going after distilleries in other parts of the world they feel may be doing things which could confuse consumers to where Scotch comes from.

The most recent example of this was when the SWA targeted Virginia Distillery Co., a maker of American single malt whiskey, over the use of the word Highland. The distillery and trade group luckily recently reached a peaceful resolution, with the end result being the former must drop Highland from related whiskey product labeling after it sells remaining stock.

“We stand behind the quality of the Virginia-Highland Whisky products and the awards and general recognition they have received the past three-plus years,” said Gareth Moore, Virginia Distillery Company’s CEO, in a prepared statement, “but are happy to work with the Scotch Whisky Association to ensure that there is no chance of confusion about our products.

Virginia Highland Malt Whisky

Virginia Highland Malt Whisky (image via Virginia Distillery Co.)

“From the start, Virginia Distillery Company has been transparent about the nature of our products, which have been recognized for their quality, and we are committed to growing and championing the American Single Malt Whisky category.”

“We welcome Virginia Distillery Company’s willingness to work with us to protect the integrity of Scotch Whisky,” added Lindesay Low, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs at the SWA. “With the company’s commitment to remove all references to ‘Highland’ and other Scottish indicators from their products over a phased period, we are pleased to cease the pending legal proceedings.

“We appreciate the prompt and positive attitude shown by the Virginia Distillery Company team in bringing the issue to resolution, removing the need for action in the courts to protect the intellectual property of Scotch Whisky.”

Virginia Distillery Co. did say it will, however, continue to label all products using ‘whisky’ which is allowed under U.S. law.