Responsible Drinking

30 May 2012

Consumed responsibly, alcohol is fully compatible with a balanced and healthy lifestyle. But regular abuse can lead to serious health and social harms.

Research has shown moderate alcohol consumption may confer health benefits for some people, for example protection from cardiovascular heart disease and against certain forms of stroke.

Misuse of alcohol can damage health in a number of ways, including increased risk of liver disease and heart problems. It may cause domestic and financial problems. For health reasons, some people should not drink at all. In addition, alcohol should be avoided before driving a car or operating machinery.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the health implications of consuming alcoholic drinks should contact their doctor.

Social Responsibility

Distillers want to maximise consumer enjoyment of their brands, and to minimise harm from irresponsible drinking. The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to playing its part in tackling alcohol misuse by promoting responsible consumption, education, responsible marketing and partnership working.  The SWA's publication Matured to be Enjoyed Responsibly gives an overview of the activity the industry is involved with.

Responsible consumption

The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to promoting responsible attitudes to alcohol. Members are required to include responsibility statements on all advertising. Many include information on label as well as supporting educational initiatives. Individuals must also take responsibility for their drinking choices - read our 'Hints & Tips'.

Drinkaware also offer an online unit calculator, MyDrinkaware, which allows consumers to monitor their unit intake and provides information on calories


It is an independent, UK-wide charity funded by voluntary donations from industry.  Many SWA members large and small contribute to its funding. Through innovative ways Drinkaware aims to challenge the UK's drinking culture and provide consumers with the knowledge to help reduce alcohol misuse. Find out more about Drinkaware's work on their website.

Responsible Marketing

The Scotch Whisky industry takes very seriously its commitment to marketing its products to consumers in a responsible way. Responsible advertising is a fundamental deliverable for Scotch Whisky producers.

The industry has developed a Code of Practice setting out minimum standards for the marketing and promotion of Scotch Whisky brands in the UK.  It is supported by a complaints procedure.

Scotch Whisky and calories

A standard 25ml measure of Scotch Whisky contains 55 calories. Scotch contains no fat and no added carbohydrates (although there may be a very small carbohydrate level depending on the type of cask used and length of maturation).

Update -alchohol

Scotch Whisky and coeliac/celiac disease

Since malted barley and other cereals are used to make Scotch Whisky, it is not surprising those who suffer from Coeliac disease query whether whisky can be safely included in a gluten-free diet.

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