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

Just Posted

There were questions raised as to whether or not this structure actually cost less than $100,000. Scott Robertson, owner of Absolute Contracting and partial owner for Arrowtec, said the building is meant to be
temporary as two or three years down the road, his company’s intent is develop houses on the property in line with the land use designated to the property in the Official Community Plan, which is T4–walk up residential. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
‘This is failure’: Construction noise frustrates neighbours on Victoria Rd. E

The city and business are trying to reduce noise, but residents want the project gone

Eric Schwenck was awarded the Train-to-Train Coach Goldie award by BC Alpine this year. He coached the Revelstoke Ski Club U14s last winter. (Katie Findlay photo)
Revelstoke Ski Club coach and volunteer recognized in the Goldie Awards

BC Alpine recognizes ski clubs, skiers and volunteers with awards every year

Moving the old jail from Third Street West to Carlson Street in May 1971. (Estelle Dickey photo; Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 9171)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for May 13

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the day

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

Mario Bafaro awoke in the middle of the night on April 25 to his home on fire in the Big Eddy. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
‘I didn’t know I had so many friends’: Revelstoke fire victim thanks community for support

Mario Bafaro lost his home and dogs in a house fire on April 25

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)
3 kayakers rescued in North Okanagan

Shuswap, Vernon search and rescue teams make swift-water rescue Sunday

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

Salmon Arm RCMP are seeking witnesses to a single-vehicle collision that occurred on Highway 1 on May 16, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seek persons who transported injured driver, motorcycle to hospital

Motorcyclist involved in a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1

Pictured is a bear in Chilliwack in Sept. 17, 2008. (Jill Hayward/Contributed)
Residents urged to stay indoors as bear wanders Kelowna street

The BC Conservation Service has been notified of bear in Cameron Avenue area

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

A kite surfer gets some help out of the water from his wife and dog after the wind left his sails on Swan Lake Monday morning. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Downed parachuter on Swan Lake just a novice kite surfer

Emergency calls were downgraded after reports of a downed parachute changed

The first of the extended closures is wrapping up, with the Trans-Canada highway re-opening on weekends for travel. (Jack Stuemple photo)
Trans-Canada highway to open on weekends

The highway will be open starting on Friday for the long weekend

Most Read