In a significant development for the UK whisky industry, fresh whisky production guidelines were unveiled on September 12th. These guidelines are designed to guarantee uniformity and superior product quality across the sector.
The British Standards Institution (BSI), the UK's national standards authority, spearheaded the creation of these guidelines in collaboration with leading whisky experts from the region. It's worth noting that BSI's standards are not legally binding, unlike the Scotch Whisky Regulations of 2009 and the Irish Whiskey Technical File. Nonetheless, there are areas of convergence between BSI's standards and legal regulations.
These newly established standards encompass several key aspects. They specify the preferred color of whisky, which should range from pale yellow or gold to deep amber or mahogany, achieved through the use of caramel. Furthermore, whisky must undergo a minimum maturation period of three years in wooden casks, and it must not be sweetened or contain any additives.
In terms of alcohol strength, whisky must have a volume of at least 40% and no more than 94.8%. The BSI also underscores that only water or plain caramel may be added to matured whisky.
Additionally, regarding product labeling, the BSI encourages distillers to assess whether any animal-based substances were employed in the liquids stored in casks prior to the whisky maturation process. If such substances were used, the whisky should not be labeled as vegan.
Scott Steedman, the Director General of Standards at BSI, expressed, "The new whisky standard effectively encapsulates the rich tradition of whisky distillation for the benefit of both consumers and the industry. We acknowledge the immense pride distillers take in their craft and the distinct characteristics that define top-notch whisky. We are thrilled to have collaborated with whisky experts from across the UK and Ireland to establish a unified standard for what constitutes quality in this globally acclaimed product."
Steedman further commented, "We anticipate that this standard will set a quality benchmark that enhances the value for distillers who adopt it and bolsters the confidence of consumers worldwide. This new standard has worldwide applicability and can facilitate the production and global trade of high-quality whisky."
These guidelines were developed by BSI in close cooperation with industry experts from the UK's whisky sector.
About The BSI
The British Standards Institution (BSI) is a renowned and highly respected organization that serves as the national standards body for the United Kingdom. Founded in 1901, BSI has played a pivotal role in developing and maintaining standards across various industries, ensuring safety, quality, and consistency in products and services. With over a century of experience, BSI has established itself as a trusted authority in the field of standardization.
One of the fundamental functions of the BSI is to develop and publish British Standards, which are voluntary guidelines and specifications that outline best practices, safety measures, and quality criteria across a wide range of sectors. These standards are developed through a collaborative process involving industry experts, government bodies, and other stakeholders. While compliance with BSI standards is typically voluntary, many organizations choose to adopt them to enhance their products and services, improve efficiency, and meet regulatory requirements.
BSI's influence extends beyond the UK, as it actively participates in the international standardization process. It works closely with international standard-setting bodies, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), to contribute to the development of global standards. This involvement ensures that UK businesses can compete effectively in the global marketplace and that consumers benefit from products and services that meet high-quality standards.
In addition to its role in standardization, BSI provides a range of services, including certification, testing, training, and assessment. These services help organizations demonstrate their compliance with standards, gain accreditation, and improve their overall performance. BSI certifications are often recognized as a mark of excellence, instilling trust and confidence in customers, partners, and stakeholders.
Furthermore, BSI's commitment to innovation is reflected in its continuous efforts to adapt and evolve standards to meet the changing needs of industries and society. This adaptability is crucial in addressing emerging challenges, such as environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, and digital transformation.
In summary, the British Standards Institution (BSI) stands as a venerable institution with a rich history of promoting standards and quality across industries. Its contributions to standardization, both nationally and internationally, play a vital role in ensuring the safety, reliability, and competitiveness of products and services while fostering innovation and growth in the UK and beyond.