May 20 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, June 14, 2012
A Norfolk couple will fight for a change in the law on distilling spirits.
In September Dominic and Sally Roskrow, of Chapel Road, Morley St Botolph, will launch the British and International Distiller’s Association, and will begin lobbying parliament in an effort to transform the world of small-time spirit distillery in the UK.
Whisky writer and businessman Mr Roskrow says UK law restricts the emergence of a healthy culture of craft spirit production similar to that of real ale and ciders.
So he is combining his passion and knowledge for spirits with his wife’s skills in PR and marketing – she was communications officer for Norwich High School for girls – to form the association and provide a shot in the arm for boutique and craft spirit producers.
Mr Roskrow said: “The UK law is very outdated, roughly about 200 years old. Small distillers or those wanting to set up in their back garden, will come up against a lot of obstacles.
“People assume it is a negative, but smaller, craft distilling is better. It is about responsible drinking, quality over quantity, craftsmanship, tourism, job creation and regionalism.
“It does seem the government is relaxing on this and allowing a few licenses, but at the moment these smaller producers do not have any representation, no one is doing what we will be.”
The association’s key aims are to lobby on behalf of small, independent distillers, market and promote them, organise events, exhibitions and tastings and provide a trade forum for members to discuss issues and support one another.
The couple are setting up a website and talking with potential members, including small distillers in America, Australia, New Zealand, India and Europe in an effort to distribute them in the UK.
Mr Roskrow points to the fact there are over 400 small, independent distillers of spirits in America alone, where the government relaxed laws to boost local economy.
“America in particular is helping to take distilling to new and innovative areas, and we are starting to see that happen in the United Kingdom too,” said Mr Roskrow.
“There are other trade associations representing drinks producers in Britain but none that put the needs of small producers in the UK first.
“We’re looking for progressive bars and pubs to join us in bringing these products to the attention of consumers, we need to offer something different to mass produced products.”
Association membership will be open to distilleries producing fewer than 140,000 litres of spirit per year, and to hotels, restaurants and bars.
The husband and wife team say they will meet The Scotch Whisky Association and The Distilleries Council of the United States to discuss working together, and already have the support of The American Distilling Institute, The Tasmanian Distillers’ Association and the New Zealand Whisky Company.
Compass Box Artisan Scotch Whiskey Makers of Eling, London, is an example of a UK brand that has come on board.
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