Boycott Watch  
June 24, 2011
Israel Boycott Backfires, Hurts Scotch Whiskey Makers
Summary: Boycotting may feel good to some, but it's not always smart.
   When the West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland made decided to boycott Israeli goods, they probably did not expect a counter-boycott of products made in their region, yet that is exactly what happened.

   The counter-boycott first started with small groups in synagogues called 'Kiddish Clubs," where people enjoy a communion shot a whisky or other beverage and snacks after prayer services. When Boycott Watch first heard of this, our reaction was this would cost Dumbarton distillers, namely the Chivas Brothers, the makers of Chivas Regal, sales of about twenty bottles a week nationally. That of course is not enough to have a significant sales impact, so we ignored the story. One week later, however, the counter-boycott has gone viral when in response, Jews started boycotting far more than just Chivas. The counter-boycott now includes all brands of Scotch, making the Jewish boycott of Scotch significant for several reasons.

   Most notably, Jews comprise a significant segment of the scotch market. The current craze for high-end scotch, the type make in regions including West Dunbartonshire, was largely fueled by Jews, especially within synagogue Kiddish Clubs and at other social events, resulting in hundreds of bottles of scotch purchased by Jews every week. In social circles, holidays and weddings, for example, many Jews like to prefer their guests something beyond the ordinary, and high-end scotch, sometimes costing $60 a bottle or more, easily fits the bill.

   "The West Dunbartonshire Council claims their boycott won't affect many products and they will stick to their boycott despite the counter-boycott" said Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch. "The information we have indicates the counter-boycott will significantly hurt sales of scotch whisky from West Dunbartonshire and beyond. It's the perfect storm of boycotts - a government entity tries to make a political statement and bites its own head off in the process.

   "Let's face it, the West Dunbartonshire Council called for a boycott in support of Muslins who don't drink alcohol per religious dictates, and called for a boycott of some of their best customers. Boycotting your best customers is beyond stupid, it is business suicide. We have already seen top-shelf Kentucky bourbon being served instead of scotch and several reports nationally backing that up."

   While Boycott Watch expects to either see the boycott cancelled or the officials voted out of office once the distillers complain about a drop in sales, the West Dunbartonshire Council and other government agencies in the UK will surely have to make significant Israeli product purchases to win back Jewish customers, but it is difficult to recover from earning a self-imposed bad name.

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