Scotch whisky is Scotland’s second biggest export, bringing in almost 7 billion US dollars a year. Over 40 bottles per second are shipped from the country each day.

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign, says that the Scotch will thrive in an independent Scotland

Scotch whisky is going to sell on a worldwide stage, regardless of the constitutional status of Scotland,” Salmond told CNN. “Our great whisky companies, and it’s fantastic to have them, they’re big enough to look after themselves.

But the smaller companies will benefit from that additional profile, that additional push of Scotland.”

The industry though does not seem to be buying this argument though. Speaking to CNN correspondent Max Foster, David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, voiced some of his worries.

[Scotch] is a product that has to be distilled and matured here in Scotland…and we take the protection of that definition very seriously, and there’s an uncertainty as to what might happen to that protection if there’s any break in the continuity of Scottish membership of the EU.”

This uncertainty though goes beyond the protection afforded to Scotch by the EU. Williamson also expressed concern over an independent Scottish government’s ability to effectively negotiate the trade of Scotch around the globe.

“When nine out of every ten bottles of Scotch whisky are sold overseas international influence, trade agreements and trade negotiations – the ability to tackle trade barriers – is important. At the moment we have a UK government with embassies in 200 markets that does very well on those sort of issues.

The Scottish government is proposing an embassy network of between 70 and 90 at the start, and of course that is a potential risk for us if we have issues in some of those markets where there would be no representation in the future.”

Alex Salmond Scotch Whisky

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