Analysts and insiders gave their opinions on how Brexit could affect the Scotch whisky industry. In essence, things aren’t looking too good. The UK may not have the collective bargaining power it used to have when it was with the EU, which may make trade with other countries more difficult and costly.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, gave an official statement via their website. He hopes that the statuses of the trade agreements between the UK and the rest of the world will be resolved sooner rather than later. He said: “…there are serious issues to resolve in areas of major importance to our industry and which require urgent attention, notably the nature of future trade arrangements with both the single market and the wider world.” (link)
Forbes’ Felipe Schrieberg pointed out that there’s a possibility that your favourite drink may not be called ‘Scotch Whisky’ in the near future. The term is protected by EU Law, under Geographical Indication, similar to how ‘Champagne’ can only be produced in that region. He also thought that whiskies will be costlier, due to higher tariffs, lengthier administrative processes and border complexities. (Link)
Although, CNBC’s Luke Graham wrote that it is highly likely that nothing will change, name-wise. He quoted Dr Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association and the U.K. Protected Food Names Association: “Brexit will not make much of a difference. UK protected products will still be protected in the EU, like Colombian coffee [even though Columbia] isn’t a member of the EU.” (link)
Back to trade; the treaty that the EU signed with the US in 1994 resulted in a tax-free exports and imports of distilled spirits between the UK and US. This arrangement may change, now that UK is out of the EU. The article from Yahoo Finance! reported that “UK spirits imports into the US were valued at $1.55 billion in 2015. A whopping 74% of those imports were Scotch”. (link)