30 May 2012

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 Department. 

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.

Cereals Research

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.

Recommended Lists

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.