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German whisky branding may infringe Scottish rights

By Lucia Binding, news reporter
German whisky brand Glen Buchenbach may be infringing Scotland's rights on its national drink, the EU's top court has ruled.
"Scotch Whisky" can only be sold in the European Union if it is actually made in Scotland - for which it is the biggest international export earner.
The distiller Michael Klotz clearly stated his Swabian Single Malt Whisky is produced in Stuttgart, Germany.But the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) took the Waldhorn Distillery in Swabia to a Hamburg court over the branding.It claimed it misled users into thinking it was scotch over the use of the Gaelic term "glen" - which means valley.The European Court of Justice took no final view on the case on Thursday.It referred a complaint from the SWA back to German judges to make a ruling.It offered guidance to assess whether the German distiller's similar branding overstepped EU law on protected regional labels in answering the Hamburg court's query.
The German court must decide whether the "average European consumer" would confuse the German whisky with scotch, the EU Court of Justice said.:: Scotland becomes first country to introduce minimum unit alcohol price to cut deathsIt was not enough for the word "glen" to evoke some kind of association with Scotland - it must actually bring to mind scotch whisky - the court stressed.But it added that it did not matter, and that the label said the product was made in Germany.
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Scottish distillers are vigilant of their branding since whisky accounts for 20% of British food and drink exports and approximately 40,000 jobs.Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law and aged in oak barrels for at least three years.
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