SWA strengthens protection of Scotch in Spain

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said on Friday it has co-signed an agreement with the Spanish Civil Guard to further the protection of Scotch Whisky in an important export market.

Spain is Scotch Whisky’s fifth largest global market by volume with exports worth over £180 million in 2019.

In Europe, Spain is in the top three Scotch Whisky export markets for both volume and value.

“The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has signed a General Protocol for Action with the Spanish Civil Guard, a law enforcement body with a remit covering customs duties and tax matters throughout Spain,” said the SWA.

“The agreement will help to further strengthen the protection of Scotch Whisky in Spain, and is the first arrangement of its kind with a national enforcement authority outside the UK.”

The protocol, co-signed by SWA chief executive Karen Betts and General Director of the Civil Guard María Gámez Gámez, sets out a process for working together to prevent the illegal marketing and sale of spirit drinks in Spain.

Provision is included for suspect samples from Spain to be sent to Scotland for testing by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

It also includes a provision for training members of the Civil Guard by the SWA’s legal team.

The SWA has worked closely with the Civil Guard for a number of years and this protocol now formalises arrangements between the organisations.

SWA legal affairs director Alan Park said: “The Civil Guard is a highly effective organisation and this is a very positive step towards the continued protection of Scotch Whisky in one of our most important export markets.

“The Spanish Civil Guard’s cooperation with the SWA has been extremely valuable in helping us to tackle the sale of products over the years that seek to take unfair advantage of Scotch Whisky’s reputation.

“We are delighted to formalise our working relationship with an enforcement authority outside the UK, in the first formal national agreement of its kind.”