In 2010 the Scoth Whisky industry used over half a million
tonnes of malted barley and an even larger volume of wheat and
other cereals. Ensuring the right quality and sufficient
quantity of cereals is a priority for the Scotch Whisky
Association's Operational and Technical Affairs
The Association maintains strong relationships with the supply
chain to share views on industry and supply trends, demands for
Scotch, evolving quality requirements for cereals varieties,
industry best-practice and policy developments.
Such relationships help ensure the supply chain, and especially
plant breeders and growers understand the industry's present needs
and future direction in terms of varieties. Specific cereal quality
requirements are therefore provided for in the long-term,
preferably from within Scotland.
The industry wishes to see new crop varieties developed
that produce more spirit, using less chemical inputs while
maintaining food safety requirements. The Association
supports the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
(BBSRC)'s £6m, five-year partnership between BBSRC, the Scottish
Government and a consortium of leading organisations. The club
funds innovative research projects on account of their scientific
excellence and relevance to industry. It supports research (worth
over £2 million) on oilseed rape, barley and wheat and their uses
in food production for humans and animals.
The Association also directly supports scientific and academic
research. An SWA-supported PhD project is currently underway at
Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh on 'Understanding Stress
Tolerance in Barley'. This will help the industry understand
how plants might adapt to the environmental changes expected to
arise from global warming.
The SWA's Operational and Technical Affairs team ensures
distillers' cereals needs are recognised by the UK Government
and levy-payer funded Home Grown Cereals Authority new crop variety
trials. New varieties are only approved when they are
considered to have the potential to provide a consistent economic
benefit to the whole industry. The SWA is represented on the HGCA's
Barley, Oats and Wheat Committees.
The Association supports and contributes to the Institute of
Brewing and Distilling (IBD) Malting Barley Committee, together
with the British Beer and Pub Association and Maltsters Association
of Great Britain.