Select Committee on Scottish Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the National Farmers' Union of Scotland


  1.  The drinks industry, especially the Scotch Whisky industry is extremely important to Scottish agriculture and to Scotland's balance of payments. A significant proportion of Scottish grain production is used by distillers. Brewing is important as it uses grain that could compete with Scottish production. Only a very small part of the Scottish soft fruit crop is used in the production of soft drinks.

  2.  We believe that only Scottish grain should be used in the production of Scotch Whisky.


  3.  The distilling industry is a major purchaser of Scottish barley, our most important crop. Around 700,000 tonnes is purchased for malt production each year, mostly for use by distillers. Scottish malting barley is particularly well suited to the production of Scotch whisky.

  4.  Distillers are also major users of Scottish wheat. This is used to produce spirit for blending with malt whisky and for use in other alcoholic beverages. Distillers have purchased around 300,000 tonnes per year, approximately a third of the Scottish wheat crop. Prior to the provision of EU Whisky refunds much of this market was filled by maize. It is very important therefore that these refunds should be retained.

  5.  Distillers and maltsters have played a significant part in the development of Scottish Quality Cereals, the first cereal farm assurance scheme to receive EU accreditation. We believe that the distilling industry should go further by using only Scottish grain in the production of Scotch whisky.


  6.  The brewing industry is also important to Scottish growers. Its direct use of Scottish grain is smaller than the distilling industry but it plays a large role in providing an outlet for English barley that could otherwise compete with Scottish grain. Brewers use around 60 per cent of the two million tonnes of barley used for malt production in the UK each year.


  7.  The majority of Scottish soft fruit production is used for purposes other than soft drinks. There is little if any commercial growing of other fruits for use in soft drinks. The exception is specialist products such as sparkling raspberry juice.

The National Farmers' Union of Scotland

November 2000

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