Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

News and announcements from the Whisky Magazine team

Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby Rob Allanson » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:38 pm

Loch Lomond Distillery Company, which makes the UK's third most popular blended whisky, is appealing for help to overturn plans which would make the industry less competitive and less environmentally friendly.

A new definition of 'Scotch malt whisky' due to come into force on November 23 will force pioneering producers such as Loch Lomond to abandon efforts to reduce energy waste and help combat climate change.

Each year the company makes more than 20 million bottles of High Commissioner, a blend recently described by the Whisky Bible as "a spectacularly improved blend" and rated as a "very good to excellent whisky", which is supplied to most of the major UK supermarket chains.

However, unless consumers lobby MPs to adapt the new regulations governing what kind of stills can produce Scotland's national drink the award winning distillery may have to shut down some of its production process.

Loch Lomond distillery has been at the forefront of pioneering attempts to modernise the traditional industry with the use of more energy efficient distillation methods.

The company already uses lightweight glass to reduce the amount of packaging sent to landfill and has been honoured by the Carbon Trust for 'Outstanding Achievement in Manufacturing Energy Efficiency' after installing a revolutionary system which recycled heat and water used in the distilling process.

For the last two years the company, which is based in Alexandria near Glasgow, has been using an energy efficient single still which helps save thousands of tons of CO2 every year.

Although the method has been around since the early 1800s Loch Lomond have improved its efficiency enough to have already smashed their Government Climate Change Levy Targets for 2011 by driving down energy use by 7 per cent.

However, according to new rules unless they use a less efficient old fashioned pot still Loch Lomond will not be allowed to use the term "malt whisky".

"We have a method that produces a very good malt but we are being penalised," said John Peterson, Distilling Director of Loch Lomond.

"We want to make the process better and save considerable amounts of energy. As it is we are preventing more than 1,400 tonnes of CO2 being released every year.

"Politicians are quick to shout about climate change and how industry has to find new ways to conserve energy and reduce carbon output but when companies like us try to do something innovate we get slapped down for it.

"We need a proper discussion on this. Our customers who enjoy good quality whisky at reasonable prices, and who want to continue doing so, need to ask their MP to object to the legislation before it's too late."
Rob Allanson
Editor
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:30 pm
Location: Norfolk, UK

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby Danmag » Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:57 am

It took a bit before the penny dropped, but if they are complaining about the definition containing malt whisky must be distilled in pot stills it means that they are using something else. Namely patent, column, stills. I thought doing that went out with the ark. It could also explain why I don't like Loch Lomond whisky even though I've tried it a few times. Anybody got any other ideas?
Danmag
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby jmrl » Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:25 am

Malting expensive barley is expensive. Putting it through culumn stills will simplify its character. I'd like to taste Loch Lomond's continously distilled malt before I campaign for its preservation.
The new regulations seek to strengthen holds on production pratice in the interest quality assurance but perhaps at the expense of innovation. Energy conservation is not a fad but it is a political fooTball.
To rule our Loch Lomond's methods can not be done on the grounds of untraditional methods. This style of distillation was not uncommon historically, I believe it stopped due to financial considerations weighted against the benefits of the system when compared to alternatives (Coffey stills distilling a mash of malted barley and unmalted grains). Legislaters certainly seem to be unchallenged in their efforts. I'd like an explanation as to why Loch Lomond cannot use this method.
Alternativley why don't they continue and still make High Commissoner but contain 0.000001% malt, its still a blend and will taste no different. Power to the independent.
Lets try the column malt, just to give us that reassurance that this is about over restrictive bureaucrats and not sensible boundaries.
Bottle it.
jmrl
Gold Member
 
Posts: 790
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:38 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotchland

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby Danmag » Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:59 am

JMRL,
Loch Lomond Malt is available in the bottle, I'm sure if you looked for it you would find a bar that sells it. As I said I don't particularly like it. I find it bland and uninteresting.
Danmag
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby jmrl » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:49 pm

I thought this bottling was a mix of the various malts made at the distillery using pot and perhaps column stills too. I was hoping to try the malt whisky made exclusively in their column still. When I tried the 'pure' (?) malt I was not impressed enough to try it again but to be fair it was from an almost finished bottled which may have sat too long on the bar shelf.

They bottle 'Distillery Selection'. Non-chillfiltered, 45%, non-artificially colured single, cask the range is a great vehicle for experimenting. But if they've done Loch Lomond single malt I've missed it.
jmrl
Gold Member
 
Posts: 790
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:38 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotchland

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby Iain » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:58 pm

[quote="Danmag"]JMRL,
Loch Lomond Malt is available in the bottle, I'm sure if you looked for it you would find a bar that sells it. As I said I don't particularly like it. I find it bland and uninteresting.[/quote]

I also found the Loch Lomond single malt inoffensive but unremarkable. I got it as a present, and finished it off as an ingredient for Whisky Macs (I'd recommend it for that - certainly better than a standard blend)
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby Danmag » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:21 am

Not something I've tried, but it sounds a good use for it.
Danmag
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby Danmag » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:45 am

Got the latest issue of the magazine today, or to be more precise since it's now 01-30, yesterday. The article about this was quite interesting, the one option I never thought about was that they used Lomond Stills to make the stuff. I didn't think anyone still had them in use, but based on that I would say that they produce Scotch Malt Whisky in them.
Danmag
New member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:13 pm

Re: Producer 'Punished' for Trying to Help the Environment

Postby John Barleycorn » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:57 pm

I smell the long arm of the SWA. Unable to get their way on this matter a year ago and as Loch Lomond Distillery is not a member of the SWA they have reverted to legislation.

The link below, posted in April last year, was in response to this very question
viewtopic.php?p=203317#p203317

I sometimes fell that the SWA are the bullies in the whisky playground.

Cheers John.
User avatar
John Barleycorn
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:36 am
Location: Scotland

Return to Whisky News

Whisky gift and present finder