An expat businessman has urged the public to put pressure on whisky chiefs to drop a lawsuit against him over the use of “Scottish” names on his products.
Graeme Macaloney, who makes whisky at a distillery in British Columbia in Canada, is facing legal action from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The trade body has accused the producer of violating Scotch whisky’s geographical indication (GI) by using words that are associated with the country on its whiskies.
They have objected to the use of the words “Caledonian”, “Macaloney”, “Island whisky”, “Glenloy” and “Invermallie” on the distiller’s products and said they may make customers think they have been produced in Scotland.
Glasgow-born Mr Macaloney said he has received messages of support from people all over the world since the legal action started.
He argued he had the right to use his own surname and said using the word “island” was fair as “Canada has as many, if not more, island distilleries than Scotland.”
He said: “The SWA has a track record of going after craft distillers who wish to celebrate their Scottish-diaspora heritage.
“The team at Macaloney’s Caledonian believes ongoing public pressure on the SWA can be an effective way to discourage the SWA from following its punitive lawsuits against craft distillers like Macaloney’s.”
Whisky Association says words are ‘strongly associated’ with Scotland
The SWA filed the civil lawsuit in the British Columbia Supreme Court and are seeking court orders banning the distillery from using the brand names. No court date has yet been set.
A spokesman for the SWA said court actions were necessary to protect its members, including small distilleries.
He said: “It is important that anyone who wants to purchase a bottle of Scotch Whisky can do so with the confidence that what they are buying is authentic, and that products which aren’t Scotch whisky are clearly differentiated.
“In this instance, we have objected to the company’s use of certain words and terms that are strongly associated with Scotland on its whisky, when the company’s whisky is actually a Canadian product.
“We never take legal proceedings lightly and the SWA is always open to a resolution which protects Scotch whisky and consumers without the need for additional legal action.
“We have made this offer to Mr Macaloney and continue to encourage him to engage with us directly to reach an agreement.”