The Importance of SQC to Scotch Whisky

11 June, 2013
George Sim

George Sim, the Scotch Whisky Association's TAC representative for Scottish Quality Crops discusses the important links between the two organisations. 

One of the main objectives of the Scotch Whisky Association’s (SWA) Cereals Committee is to ensure that sufficient quantities of the highest quality cereals are available to all distillers across Scotland.  During 2012 the Scotch whisky industry processed approximately 700,000 tonnes of malted barley into Scotch malt distillate and up to the end of September in 2012 had processed 520,000 tonnes of wheat and other cereals (an increase of 10% from the previous year) into Scotch grain distillate.

The SWA holds regular meetings with a range of stakeholders, e.g., the Home Grown Cereals Authority, the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, and the National Farmers Union of Scotland, to share views on industry and supply trends, the evolving requirements for cereal varieties, industry best practice and policy developments.  This close dialogue between the organizations has helped to ensure that the Scotch whisky industry’s specific cereal requirements are provided for, preferably from within Scotland.

The SQC standards, as set out in the SQC Manual are designed to provide all levels of the cereal supply chain, and consumers, with an assurance from the grower that the highest production standards, food safety and environmental care have been achieved.  Cereals produced under the SQC assurance scheme are used with the knowledge that external, independent audits ensure compliance with the standards.  Maltsters and Distillers are aware that the cereals grown within the SQC scheme come from farms with a good standard of crop management, are of high quality and are traceable. 

We all need to remember that SQC is a dynamic scheme and it will alter in response to consumer, customer and legislative demands.  In recognition of this, the SWA Cereals Committee will continue to play an active role in the development of all aspects of the SQC, especially in cereal traceability, on-farm HACCP and food safety procedures.  The procurement of home grown, sustainable, high quality cereals remains a priority for the Scotch whisky industry.

For more about the Scottish Quality Crops assurance scheme please visit their website

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