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Published:  23 July, 2008

In what is inevitably being seen as a climbdown, Diageo has announced its intention to withdraw Cardhu Pure Malt from Europe after its launch last spring. By turning its best-selling single malt into a vatting of Cardhu and similar malts from neighbouring Speyside distilleries, the company provoked a major industry row last year. Ian Meakins, Diageo's president of EU markets, said: We believe that we have acted consistently in the best interests of consumers, but acknowledge that we underestimated the strength of feeling.' Nick Morgan, marketing director for Diageo's Premium Malts, agreed that it had been a misjudgement and was keen to apologise: We upset people and we're sorry about that.' While refusing to mention precise sums, Morgan admitted it had been a costly exercise', but insisted that much had been learned. A new vatted malt is expected from Diageo in the next 12 months. We haven't got beyond the initial planning, but know there is a huge consumer demand out there,' Morgan added. In the meantime, Diageo's decision will speed up the work on definitions in the Scotch whisky category. Meakins added: In future, distillery names should be used only for single malts. We believe that our decision will allow all those involved to focus on the completion of this work.'