New Association Launched to Protect Cask Whisky Customers and Uphold the Reputation of the Scotch Industry

Today (21 September 2023) sees the launch of the Cask Whisky Association (CWA), a new organisation established to create 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 and includes cask whisky businesses, distilleries, independent bottlers, whisky experts and authors as well as legal and insurance professionals working within the sector.

Executive & Advisory Board members of the Cask Whisky Association
Executive & Advisory Board members of the Cask Whisky Association

By setting best practices in cask whisky ownership and sale, the Association aims to protect cask whisky customers and the wider whisky industry.

Chairman of the Advisory Board and spokesman for the CWA Colin Hampden-White says the Association’s goal is to uphold the overall reputation of the Scotch 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 says, adding: “Our Members are committed to, and will provide guidance on, best practice.”

Wendy Chamberlain MP, Chair of the Scotch Whisky APPG, has today written 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. She says in the letter: “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.”

Taking action

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.”

Other MPs whom recognise the need to better protect investors are also lending their support to the Association.

Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, says: “I am delighted to hear of the great work of the Cask Whisky Association, which is being set up to educate and protect investors in the fast-growing cask whisky market. As the sector continues to grow, it’s vital that adequate protections are in place for consumers and investors alike.”

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

Whisky expert and author Hans Offringa sits on the CWA’s advisory board. He says: “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 to the CWA is open to UK-based, financially-stable companies who uphold quality standards and retain all 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.

Please visit the website for further information

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The Cask Whisky Association was established and launched in 2023. The CWA brings together stakeholders leading on best practice to safeguard the industry and consumer. The carefully-curated board of Advisors offer a depth and breadth of knowledge from all sides of the industry and includes distilleries, authors, journalists as well as insurance and legal professionals.

CWA Executive Board

  • Keith Rennie – Director at Scotch Whisky International Ltd
  • Simon Aron – Managing Director of Cask Trade Ltd
  • Saul Kelly – Managing Director of Fruitful Spirits Ltd
  • George Stewart –Director of George Stewart Whisky Ltd
  • Danny Saltman – Director of Malts at DS Tayman
  • Saul Taylor – Managing Director of Dalkeith Brokerage Ltd
  • Russell Spratley – Director of Spiritfilled Ltd

CWA Advisory Board

  • Colin Hampden-White – TV presenter and whisky journalist
  • Charles Maclean – Author and whisky expert
  • Hans Offringa – Author and whisky expert
  • George Frier – Partner at Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
  • Patricia Dillon – Managing Director of Speyside Distillers Co. Ltd
  • John Laurie – Managing Director of The Glenturret
  • Graeme Dempster – Account Executive at insurance broker Bruce Stevenson
  • Martin Purvis – Associate Director of Kelvin Cooperage