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Cask Whisky Association aims to protect whisky

Published:  22 September, 2023

The brand-new Cask Whisky Association (CWA) has been launched with the aim of protecting the overall reputation of Scotch whisky, while creating a ‘safe environment’ for whisky enthusiasts and customers to buy and sell casks.

The CWA is made up of two boards of members and advisors (pictured) and includes cask whisky businesses, distilleries, independent bottlers, whisky experts and authors as well as legal and insurance professionals working within the sector.

By setting best practices in cask whisky ownership and sale, the association intends to protect cask whisky customers from unscrupulous vendors and therefore the wider whisky industry.

“The Cask Whisky Association exists to protect private customers from unscrupulous business practices and traders, and safeguard independent bottlers from over-inflated pricing,” Colin Hampden-White, chairman of the advisory board and spokesman for the CWA, said.

“Our members are committed to, and will provide guidance on, best practice."

The organisation has already begun its activities. Yesterday (21 September), Wendy Chamberlain MP, chair of the Scotch Whisky APPG, wrote to the business minister responsible for the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, seeking clarification on whether the new consumer legislation will increase protections for investors in cask whisky.

The letter states: “Having met with the Cask Whisky Association, I am aware that there are many reputable organisations who want to provide good investment opportunities to enthusiasts and investors alike. The actions of bad actors in this field risk harming not only consumers, but the reputation of Scotch whisky and the long-term viability of the industry as a whole.”

The association has also met with Lord Richard Harrington, who is leading the government review of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Harrington said of the association: “This type of cross-industry collaboration is welcomed. Where blind spots in regulation exist, such as in the cask investment space, it is encouraging to see different parts of the industry coming together to address the issues that emerge. Scotch is a true British success story, so measures must be put in place to protect the integrity of the sector.”

Elsewhere, the association is in discussions with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the Worshipful Company of Distillers and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), where it is seeking cooperation and collaboration to address issues in the sector. It is also petitioning The Bonded Warehousekeepers Association (BWA) to gain their support.

Whisky expert and author Hans Offringa, who sits on the CWA’s advisory board, said: “If you want to buy whisky, go to a trusted company and get some advice, that way you will avoid any pitfalls. That’s why I think certification and licensing is so important. The Cask Whisky Association provides a quality hallmark for people looking to buy and invest in whisky. There are a lot of cowboys out there and we don’t want them to discredit good companies and ruin good business.”

Membership is open to UK-based, financially stable companies, which uphold quality standards and retain the appropriate licences.

The CWA is a voluntary organisation, open to all cask whisky companies. Applications will be reviewed semi-annually by the executive board and overseen by the independent advisory board.

For more information and to get in touch, visit the website