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

Getting enough Vitamin D can be challenging for Canadians, especially during winter months. (CONTRIBUTED)
ACTIVE LIVING: The ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a vital role in our health

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns gives a thumbs up to active transportation during a presentation of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce's Bike SEAT program at McLean Mill National Historic site in Port Alberni on April 16, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
QUINN’S QUIPS: MP Gord Johns takes victory ride for cycling strategy

Johns gained a reputation as the bicycle-riding MP during his first year

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Volunteers from the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society release a bucket filled with 5,000 coho fry into Kitsuksis Creek on the bridge at Batty Road, Saturday, April 24, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVID HOOPER)
Volunteers release thousands of coho fry into Port Alberni creeks

Fry come from small hatchery on McLean Mill National Historic Site

In the five years since the Dry Creek flood abatement project was completed, the pathway built behind commercial buildings on Third Avenue has become overgrown with Scotch broom and other weeds. (PHOTO COURTESY RANDY FRASER)
‘New’ Dry Creek path falls into disrepair in Port Alberni

City’s land access contracts lapse as condition of pathway beside creek deteriorates

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read