On the heels of growing global Scotch whisky demand, the UK is cracking down on the spirit’s growing pool of imitators. Scotch whisky can already legally be called Scotch only if it was made in Scotland and aged in oak casks for at least three years (it’s also spelled “whisky” to distinguish it from other kinds of “whiskey”). Now, to beef up that law, the British government has announced it will create a public register for Scotch producers. Those that agree to have their product checked by UK authorities will be able to sell their spirit with a special label, says a spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association.
That won’t just affect drinkers in Britain, though; it will help Scotch fans around the world see whether their tipple is the real McCoy. Scotch exports have nearly doubled over the past 10 years, to £4.3 billion ($7 billion). According to the association, the US, the world’s leading importer, ships in nearly £800 million ($1.32 billion) worth of the spirit each year; France, at just over £390 million, is the second largest.
But per capita consumption looks quite different. Americans drink less than half a bottle of Scotch per person per year; the French drink two and half. And both pale in comparison to Singapore, which ships in nearly 13 bottles per capita each year, almost twice as much as its nearest rival, Latvia.