Graeme Macaloney, whisky maker and owner of MacMhaol-onfhaidh (Macaloney) Brewers & Distillers Ltd. in Saanich, is facing a court challenge as the Scotch Whisky Association and a Glasgow distillery oppose the company’s use of various terms they claim insinuate the spirits were made in Scotland. (Black Press Media file photo)

Graeme Macaloney, whisky maker and owner of MacMhaol-onfhaidh (Macaloney) Brewers & Distillers Ltd. in Saanich, is facing a court challenge as the Scotch Whisky Association and a Glasgow distillery oppose the company’s use of various terms they claim insinuate the spirits were made in Scotland. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. whisky-maker facing international lawsuit over alleged misleading branding

Victoria’s Macaloney’s Caledonian Distillery denies allegations made by Scotland-based producers

A Saanich whisky distillery is facing a lawsuit filed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and a Glasgow-based distillery alleging that the company’s branding is misleading to Canadian consumers.

On March 5, the plaintiffs, the SWA and Whyte and MacKay Ltd., registered notice of a civil claim against MacMhaol-onfhaidh (Macaloney) Brewers & Distillers Ltd. (MBD), the company that runs Macaloney’s Caledonian Distillery and Twa Dogs Brewery at 761 Enterprise Crescent.

READ ALSO: Saanich distillery’s whiskies ready for tasting after three years aging

In the B.C. Supreme Court suit, the plaintiffs object to the defendant’s “misleading branding and marketing of its whiskies” and the use of terms they claim may lead customers to think the Island-distilled whisky was made in Scotland. The SWA and Whyte and MacKay Ltd. go on to say they do not object to the distilling and bottling of single malt whisky in B.C., but ask for a series of court declarations and that all concerned branding materials be destroyed.

In the suit, the association noted that it frequently takes action against distilleries that attempt to pass off their whisky as Scotch whisky or use imagery and names that insinuate the spirits were made in Scotland. Thus, the plaintiffs object to MBD’s use of the terms Caledonian, Macaloney, Glenloy and Invermaillie, as they are of Scottish origin.

The SWA claims it contacted Graeme Macaloney, owner of MBD, by phone and email to discuss its concerns in August 2019 and again in January 2020 – at which time the association said it emphasized using brand names connected to Scotland would not be cancelled out by labelling the product as Canadian whisky.

READ ALSO: Canadian Whiskey Awards raise a glass to Saanich Peninsula’s Devine Distillery

The Saanich distillery recently nabbed the title for Canadian Best Single Malt at the 2021 World Whiskies Awards with its Glenloy whisky, but instead of revelling, the company’s focus is on the court challenge. In a response to the civil suit filed April 7, the company denies the accusations, stating “at no time have any of Macaloney’s Canadian spirits or whiskies been labelled as “scotch”, “scotch whisky” or as having been distilled in Scotland. MBD goes on to claim it has operated under the names “Macaloney’s” – the owner’s surname – and “Victoria Caledonian Distillery” since 2016 “with the knowledge and approval” of the SWA.

The company also notes that its whiskies are labelled as Canadian products and are sold in cartons featuring a map of Vancouver Island. MBD adds that it has complied with the association since opening and that its whiskies are in fact distilled by Scots as its team is comprised of Macaloney, master distiller Mike Nicolson and the late whisky consultant Jim Swan – all of whom were born in Scotland.

As of April 7, no court date had been set.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

BC Supreme CourtSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

FILE – Residents of the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory southwest of Montreal continue to monitor a blockade leading to blocked railroad tracks that pass through their community as they protest in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on Sunday, March 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe
B.C. Supreme Court rejects Wet’suwet’en bid to toss LNG pipeline certificate

Opposition last year by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs set off Canada-wide rail blockades

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read