Monday, June 08, 2009

"Fight them in the glens!"

Nova Scotia distillery takes fight over ‘glen’ name to Supreme Court
Teresa Smith, Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, June 8, 2009

Glenora Distillery

Glen Breton single malt whisky is proudly made in Nova Scotia, not Scotland.

And, that's about the only thing the Scotch Whisky Association, based in Edinburgh, Scotland and Glenora Distillers, based in Glenville, N.S., can agree on.

The drink may be smooth going down, but the battle over its name is anything but.

The Scotch Whisky Association's central argument is that it does not want the word glen to confuse consumers into thinking the whisky is made in Scotland, the home of such famous brands as Glenmorangie, Glen Garioch and Glenfiddich.

The case originally went to court almost nine years ago when Glenora registered the whisky's name as Glen Breton under the Trademarks Act.

The SWA was unsuccessful in its original bid to quash the name, so it appealed and won but, Glenora appealed again, and the Canadian distillery won the right to use the Glen Breton name in January. Now, the SWA is appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The court has not yet decided if it will hear case.

The case gets a bit cloudy because single malt whisky, like Glen Breton Rare, is neither a Canadian Rye Whisky, nor a Scotch.

Glenora Distilleries president, Lauchie MacLean says that, because 95 per cent of single malt whiskeys are made in Scotland, and called Scotch, it's difficult for restaurants and liquor commissions to know where to place his product in menus and on shelves.

But, he defends his company's right to use the name because it is located in a glen and from Cape Breton. "That's where we came up with the name," said Mr. MacLean.

"We've always been very proud of our Canadian heritage," said Mr. MacLean, whose great grandparents came to Nova Scotia from Scotland seven generations ago.

"We very specifically say that we are Canada's only single malt whisky, that we are Canadian and we have a red maple leaf on our label . . . nowhere do we indicate that we are a scotch in any way, shape or form.

"We expect to take it to the very end," he said, "and, if they want to take it to a glen somewhere and have it out, then we'll fight them in the glens."


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