A CRAFT distillery in St Andrews has hit out at Scotch whisky bosses after being told it cannot use its own brand name to market one of its most important products.

Eden Mill, which restored whisky making to the Fife town for the first time in 150 years when it launched in 2012, currently markets gin and beer made at its Guardbridge site under the Eden name.

Plans to introduce a blended Scotch under the brand are at an advanced stage, with a range of single malts to follow later.

But the company claims that the Scotch Whisky Association, whose membership is dominated by the country’s biggest distillers, insists it can only use the name Eden Mill for single malt.

That is because of strict regulations governing the production of Scotch, which dictate that a distillery’s name can only be used to market a whisky made entirely on the site.

Eden boss Paul Miller slammed the rules as “outdated” and claimed they are stifling innovation in the whisky market. He said: “It almost seems as if they are trying to undermine every innovative effort we are putting out there. Core to it is being denied the right to use our own brand name on our own products, when we have invested money to create a distillery and a brand. It just feels wrong.”

Eden Mill has been distilling spirit which will ultimately be sold as single malt since it opened its doors, but it will be 2018 at the earliest before the product is available for sale. Distilled spirit can only legally be sold as Scotch whisky if it has matured for at least three years.

Mr Miller added: “It works against small distillers who are really trying to create a brand identity for themselves at an embryonic stage, before their single malts are ready. It makes us uncompetitive with other countries who don’t have to deal with this.”

The SWA responded by saying that it is not the responsibility of the Association to set the laws governing Scotch whisky, only to help companies adhere to them.

Alan Park, the SWA’s director of legal affairs, said: “The use of the name of the distillery as a brand name for a Scotch whisky not produced at the distillery contravenes part of Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, a UK law. The specific regulation helps protect consumers against potentially misleading marketing.”