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Published:  23 July, 2008

European Union plans to abolish set bottle sizes for spirits as part of a deregulation initiative have been condemned as misguided by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). Since 1993 there have been 15 permitted bottle sizes in the EU for spirits (before regulation there were more than 60). Hugh Morison, the SWA's chief executive, said: For the industry, the certainty provided by standard sizes has enabled Scotch whisky producers to invest millions in high-speed bottling lines, improving efficiency and creating economies of scale. This has had knock-on environmental benefits, by encouraging the use of lightweight glass, leading to raw material and energy savings of up to 20%. To abandon the benefits of standard bottle sizes would be a misguided attempt at deregulation. No one wants to return to a free-for-all situation, whereby consumers would be faced by a confusing plethora of similar-sized products and would have to look closely to notice small differences in quantity. There is simply no demand for a large number of new bottles sizes only ten years after the EU introduced the current set of sizes,' said Morison.