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BSI introduces world's first-ever std for whisky, streamlining value chain
Wednesday, 20 September, 2023, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The British Standards Institution (BSI) has introduced a new standard, BS 8636 for whisky manufacturers calling it the world's first-ever standard for whisky, setting a new benchmark for quality in the alcoholic beverage industry.

India, which emerged as the largest Scotch whisky market by volume in 2022, with 242 million cases sold, relies heavily on whisky, accounting for nearly two-thirds of its $53 billion alcoholic beverage sales.

Theuns Kotze, managing director, Assurance, BSI India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, in a reply to FnB News, stated that BSI's BS 8636 standard is poised to streamline and fortify India's whisky value chain, making the process more efficient and dependable.

“BS 8636:2023, Whisky uses analytical parameters and methods of analysis. While specification is a voluntary British standard designed to support distillers to produce whisky for local and global markets, the specification sets out the production process to help ensure a trusted supply chain for the main categories of whisky traded globally,” said Kotze.

Meanwhile, the notable requirements set by the standard include a minimum three-year maturation in wooden casks, a 40% minimum alcohol strength, and avoidance of sweeteners and additives to maintain the whisky's natural aroma and taste.

“Today, consumers in different markets expect whisky to be made from cereals, distilled in a certain way, aged for a minimum period in wooden casks, and sold at a strength not less than 40% alc. vol. This ensures whisky retains the colour, aroma and taste derived from its raw materials and production process,” said Kotze.

Under these standards, distillation is mandated to be conducted at less than 94.8% volume, preserving the raw materials' distinct qualities. Additionally, the standard offers guidance on packaging, particularly regarding product labelling. It addresses situations where animal products were used in other alcoholic beverages stored in the casks before whisky maturation helping consumers to make informed choices.

Kotze further said that the British standard has been developed by the consensus of whisky and industry experts in the UK and Ireland. Standards (whether national or ISO international) do not supersede local legislation but are designed to provide a best practice approach to help businesses should they wish to use a standard.
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