Scotch whisky is a spirit drink distilled and matured in Scotland on the basis of just three feedstocks – cereals, water and yeast. Scotch malt whisky is produced from 100% malted barley, while grain Scotch whisky is typically made from wheat or maize. Wheat generally replaced maize in the 1980s in part due to price factors. When wheat is the main raw material it is mixed with 10% high enzyme malting barley. The resulting grain whisky usually becomes a component of blended Scotch whisky, which is the one most commonly found on the market.
The Scotch Whisky Association says the industry sources the majority of its barley and wheat needs in Scotland.
The UK distilling industry is estimated to use 700,000-800,000 tonnes of wheat a year, representing some 5% of UK wheat production.
Grain distillers source low-nitrogen, soft Winter wheat varieties, which provide for higher alcohol yields. These are usually feed varieties and some biscuit varieties.