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Cosa Nostra whisky under investigation by Scotch Whisky Association

Cosa Nostra whisky <i>(Image: Coldiretti/Facebook)</i>

Cosa Nostra whisky (Image: Coldiretti/Facebook)

The Scotch Whisky Association is investigating after a product named Cosa Nostra sold in a machine gun-shaped bottle caused outrage in Italy.

The product, produced by a Polish company, is branded as a three-year-old Scotch and is named after the Sicilian mafia.

There are a number of strict conditions which must be met to sell whisky as Scotch, including having been matured for at least three years in oak casks, having a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40 per cent, be produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley and contain no added substances outside water and caramel colouring.

The trade body which upholds standards in the industry confirmed it was investigating after being approached by The Herald.

A spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association said: “The Scotch Whisky industry takes its commitment to responsible marketing extremely seriously, and the marketing of products which celebrate violence, aggression or illegal behaviour is not something we would ever condone.

“The product is under investigation by both our legal and alcohol policy teams.”

Bartex, the company which produces the drink, is not a member of the SWA.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, the alcohol social responsibility body and marketing regulator said: “The Portman Group Code regulates the whole of the alcohol sector in the UK and products must adhere to the 12 Code rules on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

“We operate on a complaint basis and would encourage anyone who is concerned about the marketing of alcohol to submit a complaint to us.

“Should we receive a complaint about this product, it would be reviewed first by the Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel), who will then determine the next steps regarding how the case should proceed. Ultimately it could be referred to the full Panel for consideration.”

Coldiretti, the association of agricultural entrepreneurs and farmers in Italy, along with Fileria Italia, an agriculture and industry alliance, condemned Cosa Nostra whisky and other products which use mafia imagery last week.

They accused the businesses of operating “without regard for the pain of the victims and to the detriment of the country’s image”.

President of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini said: “The use of names alluding to the mafia is a business that causes serious damage to the image of Made in Italy by exploiting stereotypes related to mafia organisations, trivialising and quasi-normalising a phenomenon which has brought pain and grief across our country.”


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