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Scotch whisky industry seeks clarity over independence

Published:  27 February, 2014

The Scotch whisky industry is asking for clarity from both the UK and Scottish governments ahead of the independence referendum on what it would mean for business.

Although the Scotch whisky industry is not taking sides in the debate, it would like more information on what would happen with respect to EU membership, Scotland's overseas representation and currency among other issues, should independence go ahead.

A spokeswoman for the Scotch Whisky Association told "The SWA is an apolitical body and we have a neutral stance on the independence referendum.

"We are asking for clarity from both governments so that we can weigh up the likely impact on the Scotch whisky industry. Questions for governments to address include membership of the EU/World Trade Organisation and Scotland's future overseas representation, currency, governmental structures, and financial/economic architecture."

Meanwhile a Diageo spokesperson said: "Diageo respects the democratic right of the Scottish people to decide upon the constitutional future of the country. There are still many questions to be answered in relation to the implications of potential constitutional change. We are monitoring the debate closely to assess how such change might affect our business and our focus is on working in partnership with the UK and the Scottish Governments to ensure a favourable environment for the continued growth of Scotch whisky and our business in Scotland."

Diageo has a wide ranging Scotch whisky portfolio, including malt and blended whiskies. It comprises Johnnie Walker, Bells, J&B as well as Lagavulin and Talisker. The firm announced a £1 billion programme to ramp up Scotch production to cope with growing global demand. Its most recent investment is a £30 million expansion its Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland.

Scotland is one of Diageo's largest spirit supply centres responsible for producing around 50 million cases of leading brands of Scotch whisky and white spirits annually. It employs 4,000 people in Scotland with 28 malt distilleries, logistics posts and its Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh.