Vijay Mallya accuses SWA of 'commercial imperialism'
London, Apr 10: Liquor faron and Rajya Sabha Member Vijay Mallya has accused the UK's Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) of commercial 'imperialism', treating India as if it were still a British colony.
Mr Mallya hit out at ''double standards'' by the SWA, which is demanding that the Indian government lowers import tariffs on Scotch while refusing to recognise the Indian whisky in the UK.
The war of words puts him at loggerheads with Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, appointed deputy chairman of the SWA earlier this year, and Richard Burrows, managing director of Pernod Ricard, who is the SWA's chairman. They are spearheading the SWA's highly political campaign to open up the Indian market to Scotch whisky producers.
Mr Mallya called an impromptu press conference at Aintree racecourse last weekend, 30 minutes before the Grand National began.
''India is not a British colony any more. This imposition of British imperialism is unacceptable,'' he said.
Mr Mallya said he would continue to oppose SWA coming to India until they allow Indian companies to sell in England and Scotland.
''Nobody can take us for granted,'' he said.
The SWA refuses to recognise Indian liquor brands as whisky because they are made from sugar cane molasses and not cereal-based as is Scotch. Mr Mallya was at the Grand National as a guest of brewer Scottish&Newcastle, which holds 37.5 per cent of United Breweries, part of UB Group.