Scotch Whisky has been recognised as a ‘geographical indication’ (GI) – meaning the description can only be used on whisky produced in Scotland in accordance with UK law – in Mozambique.
This legal breakthrough in Mozambique will give consumers a high level of protection against fakes. Scotch has been recognised as a GI in a number of markets over the last 12 months, including Botswana, which was the first African country to reward it that status, and the 17 member countries of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriete Intellectuelle (OAPI).
Scotch must be made in Scotland from water, cereals and yeast and matured for at least three years. Scotch is now officially recognised in the laws of nearly 100 countries, including the whole of the European Union. GI status is of great commercial value to the Scotch Whisky industry and gives consumers confidence in the quality and provenance of what they are buying.
While Mozambique is a relatively small export market, the value of direct shipments of Scotch in 2014 was £1.6 million, up from £214,232 five years earlier. Volume reached 505,143 70cl bottles at 40% ABV, up from 59,714 bottles in 2009. A lot of the Scotch destined for Mozambique also goes through distribution hubs in South Africa.
The SWA sees great potential for Scotch across Africa as economies develop and become more urbanised. Mozambique has experienced economic growth in recent year with gross domestic product (GDP) up more than 7% in 2014 and the country has been attracting inward investment. Many young professionals in Mozambique, and across Africa, see Scotch as an aspirational drink of choice, according to the SWA. But as Scotch grows in popularity, attempts are often made to try to take unfair advantage of its success, for example by trying to make and sell fakes. Recognition as a GI helps protect against such illegal activities.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, says: “We expect to see demand for Scotch to increase in Mozambique as its economy continues to grow. We have the same positive outlook for many African countries with a growing middle class seeking out quality, imported products, such as Scotch. It’s important that consumers have confidence in the provenance of what they are buying, which this recognition of Scotch as a ‘geographical indication’ will help to achieve.
“We would also like to thank the UK Government for its assistance. Earlier this week, while in Mozambique, the Scottish Secretary David Mundell spoke of Scotch Whisky as a great success story. He emphasised the importance of protecting it from imitations and the benefits of GI status.”
Mundell said: “This is a great result, and I am grateful to the Mozambique government. Whisky is one of Scotland’s greatest success stories, a globally-recognised premium product. This new protection will help Scottish distillers maximise the value of this important new market. It will also give consumers in Mozambique the confidence that the dram in their glass is the real thing.”
23 February 2016 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor