'Scotch in a can' angers the homefolk

If you want to tick off the Scottish whisky industry, put something on the market that in any way purports to be of their style and caliber.

The latest fit of rage is being occasioned by the introduction of a product from Latin America -- 12 ounces of whisky in a can, called "Scottish Spirits." It also is offered under the name "Sir Edwin's."

The Panamanian manufacturer is test marketing the products in the Caribbean and Africa, with an eye toward global distribution.

Scottish Spirits Ltd. cites the environmental friendliness of the cans, which a spokesman notes are "lightweight and portable and entirely recyclable."

The Scotch Whisky Association, which works on behalf of the industry in consumer and legal matters and has been known to file a lawsuit at the drop of a drink, says it will seek to ban the cans for breaching international labelling rules.

Scottish Spirits Ltd. has a broad line of beverages, among them an "alcohol-free whisky" named ArKay that was specifically developed for sale in Muslim countries where alcohol is not allowed but consumers may want the taste the Halal-approved drink can provide.

It also makes and distributes Baraima rum; Maxximo, Antigua Cruz and Hacienda tequilas, and Gorloska vodka. 

The company has been exporting its whiskies around the world since 1896. It has an office and distribution center in Glasgow, Scotland, and a distribution center in Panama. The company  bottles more than a million cases per year and forecasts reaching the 5 million case level by 2012.

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