Spirits buyers fear the high profile row over Diageo’s marketing of its Cardhu brand could damage consumers’ confidence in Scotch whisky.
The spirits giant outraged the industry north of the border by calling Cardhu a ‘pure malt’ even though it is now a blended whisky due to a shortfall of stock at its distillery.
Last week, the Scottish Whisky Association intervened in the dispute after rival distillers threatened to take legal action against Diageo, who they believed was threatening the “integrity” of the industry.
Diageo has made “significant packaging changes” including switching from brown to green labels as well as issuing PoS material explaining the spirit’s origin. But retailers believe consumers’ image of Scotch whisky has been tarnished.
One senior buyer said: “Although the
brand is only big in foreign markets, the level of press coverage could have affected consumers’ confidence in Scotch whisky as they start to question brands’ provenance.”
Peter Smith, communications director for Diageo in Scotland, said: “I can see how buyers could have found the publicity unhelpful - but we didn’t cause it.
“The issue was stirred up like a hornet’s nest and it might have confused people who didn’t understand the background to the issue.”