The Whisky Caper: Scotch Whisky Association vs. Glenora Distillers

photo credit: Glenora DistillersSome people take their whisky seriously. The Scottish Whisky Association takes the topic very seriously. They were concerned that the use of the word “Glen”, in connection with a Canadian whisky, would mislead consumers into thinking the drink was from Scotland. So concerned, they sued Glenora Distillers, the Canadian distiller of GLEN BRETON whisky all the way up to the Federal Court of Appeal. 

For lawyers, it’s a trade-mark issue: Has the word “Glen” in association with “single malt whisky” become recognized in Canada as designating Scotland as the origin of whiskies? In a decision last year (Scotch Whisky Association v. Glenora Distillers International Ltd. 2008 FC 425 Date: April 3, 2008) the court agreed with the Scotch Whisky Association, and decided that the word “Glen” would confuse consumers.  The court refused to permit Glenora to register the trade-mark GLEN BRETON for single-malt whisky. 

Last week, the Federal Court of Appeal reversed that decision and agreed with the distiller. It’s worth noting that the product is not marketed as “scotch”, but as “Canada’s only single-malt whisky”. The appeal judges decided that the word “Glen” would not mislead consumers, and permited the trade-mark application to proceed. The Scotch Whisky Association is rumoured to be considering an appeal – this time, all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada.  If they do appeal, the next decision won’t be expected until sometime in 2011, about 8 years from when the contest began. Just enough time to permit the bottling of the next batch of GLEN BRETON 8-year-old single malt.

Calgary – 10:45 MST 


No comments

No comments yet. Be the first.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.