Vijay Mallya who has been at loggerheads with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) for over a decade, will now become a member of the UK-based trade body.
“Now I shall embrace all Diageo brands with all my heart and work with the regulators,” the chairman of United Spirits said after announcement of the stake sale to Diageo, which is a key member of the association.
The bone of contention between Mallya and SWA has been the very definition of whisky.
SWA’s contention is that India’s molasses-based whisky didn’t fall in line with global production and therefore shouldn’t be labelled as whisky. According to it, liquor made out of at least three-year-old cereals can only use the term. The rest should be called ‘spirits’.
SWA also asserted that Indian whisky be barred from using the ‘scotch’ label – that should be reserved for whisky made in Scotland.
The trade body made sure Mallya couldn’t sell his whisky in the European markets.
In turn, Mallya made sure global whisky players had it tough on the Indian turf.
Mallya had accused SWA of still treating India as a “British colony” and accused it of “imperialism”.
The association, in turn, said Mallya was indulging in double standards.
There were speculations that the two parties will call a truce after Mallya acquired White & Mackay in 2007. But the patch-up didn’t happen.
Now, with Diageo in the driver seat, Mallya and SWA appear to have little option but to smoke the peace pipe.