UK & China agree over Scotch

23rdNov. × ’10

China and the UK have announced an agreement to ensure that whisky sold in China can only be labeled ‘Scotch’ if it is actually produced in Scotland. Does this spell the end of the road for Red Labial (not a freudian slip…) in China?

red labial danwei

The truly revolutionary Scotch! Photo from

Most likely not. While it is a step forward for the promotion of whisky (note the spelling) in China, most Chinese citizens do not know much about the origin of whisky, nor care much for its taste (source = taxi driver interviews). Another significant problem is that “政府的应酬不用威士忌的” and “现在政府的应酬都是需要红酒的” (The government does not drink whisky at dinner parties, the government needs red wine!). This telling quote was from a conversation with a friend of mine in Nantong who was asking for advice on opening an alcohol shop in his city. I of course suggested whisky as a fine product to stock, but he doesn’t believe that whisky can sell, as the local leaders don’t drink it. Perhaps a smart move for Diageo and PR would be to adjust their ads to target those in charge over here? They might find inspiration from this advert for White Gold Vodka in their excellent Siberian airlines campaign of a few years ago:


Was he moonlighting to supplement his income?

Congratulations all round to those who brokered this deal (and I hope their hangovers were worth it) but I’d like to see them negotiate a reduction in whisky import duties. Perhaps in return for duty free imports of baijiu to the UK?

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One Comment

  1. DJ Owally
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Red Labial … Sounds fishy to me.

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