Scotch and wry in the glens of Nova Scotia

Canadian correspondents Mark Macneill and David Vaver report that the Canadian Glen Breton whisky case, first noted on Scots Law News here,  was reversed by the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal on 22 January 2009.

The litigation, initiated by the Scotch Whisky Association, is about whether the Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia can market its product as “Glen Breton”.  The latest decision means that it can, and that in Canada at any rate the word “Glen” does not connote that the whisky must come from Scotland and therefore infringe on the exclusive rights of Scotch whisky distillers. 

Lauchie MacLean, president of Glenora Distillers International Ltd, says that he thinks Robert Burns, whose 250th birthday falls on 25 January 2009 and initiates the Year of Homecoming in Scotland, is watching over Glenora’s change of fortune, and promised to ensure that all those taking a dram to mark the anniversary locally did so with a Glen Breton.  Glenora Distillers is based in Glenville, next to the community of Glenora Falls in Nova Scotia.

Professor Vaver comments that “the decision appealed from, by a judge whose experience was in admiralty, thus more in rum than whisk(e)y, was dubious, and I'm glad an appeal court has borne that out.”  Mr Macneill notes that the SWA could still appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, so that the case isn’t necessarily over just yet.  But, he goes on, “either way the case is a real glass raiser.  Buaidh no bas (To conquer or die!).”