Whisky Advocate

Feedback on “Things that really frustrate me”

November 20th, 2007

In a recent posting, I opined how I feel like I’m in prison here in the U.S. because many whiskies are not imported here. One of the deterrents is that the bureaucratic red tape makes it difficult for whisky companies to import their whiskies.

Mark Reynier, Managing Director of Bruichladdich, sent me a note with his perspective on the matter:

“Just read the entries on your blog. You should also add that the reason many of these bottlings never make it to the States is BAFT.

Label approval costs are needed for each and every different cask/whisky, the costs are excessive on such a small scale, and it takes months to get approval (unless an expensive consultant is employed). 

Since the strength of spirit in the bottle has to match the figure printed on the label within 0.2%, and the label has to be approved before it can be applied and the whisky can be shipped, and bearing in mind the delay in label approval, and the fact that alcohol evaporates, it is an extremely difficult affair especially for cask strength whiskies – one that many small distillers simply cannot be bothered, or afford, to do. 

On top of that, special labels are required, not only for the 750mls bottle size, but because BAFT have strange puritanical  views on what is permissible on a label and what is not, sometimes rejecting a product’s complete design entirely, necessitating a complete rework with associated costs and hassle.”

Fair enough, Mark. I can certainly see the impediments you have to deal with. I guess the “prison” analogy applies both ways–importing and receiving.

(And while I have everyone’s attention, I see that I need to open my blog to comments. People are, for good reason, sending me comments to my email address because they can’t comment on the blog. I have held off on allowing comments because of the two WhiskyFests we hosted in October which, along with extensive travel, took up most of my time. Now that I’m back in the office, I’ll work on opening the blog comment floodgates. Stay tuned…)

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