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Diageo faces storm over whisky changes

Date: 16 Nov 2003

The leading distillers in Scotland have threatened to pull out of the Scotch Whisky Association unless it takes action against the drinks giant Diageo for changing its malt whisky Cardhu.

The industry is upset because of Diageo's response to its situation with dwindling stocks of single malt Cardhu, due to growing demand. The company has decided to produce a malt blend, with only a relatively minor change on the packaging of the Cardhu brand, changing the description of 'single malt' to 'pure malt'.

The other companies claim that the move threatens to undermine the quality associated with single malt whisky, and to confuse customers.

The matter has been the subject of prime minster's questions, and a meeting of the Scotch whisky all-party parliamentary group.

Diageo has said it is prepared to compromise with more extensive repackaging, but has defended the spirit of its initial decision, describing it as 'innovation'.

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