The SNP-led Scottish government has called on Theresa May to make sure the nation's historic whisky industry is protected when the UK splits from the EU in 2019, it emerged on Sunday 30 July. Scottish economy minister Keith Brown has written to the UK government in the wake of a trip by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox to the US.

"The US made clear in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] discussions [with the EU] that they would support a relaxation of the definition of whisky, which would open the market up to a number of products that do not currently meet that standard," he said.

"It is vital that we continue to have robust legal protection of Scotch whisky, which is why I have sought clarification from the UK government as to whether Scotch whisky featured in discussions during last week's trade visit by the Secretary of State for International Trade.

"I am also demanding that the current EU regulations are guaranteed post-Brexit.

"After reports this week that the UK government is contemplating trade deals that that threaten the value and reputation of Scottish produce, once again we can see the confusion which is at the heart of the UK Government's Brexit position."

The Scottish Whiskey Association has said manufacturing the spirit supports 40,000 and adds £5bn (€5.6bn, $6.6bn) in value across the UK economy each year.

The industry organisation has called on the British government to prioritise a comprehensive trade deal with the EU and an open trade policy with the economic bloc, among other things.

"As we navigate the uncertainties of Brexit, the continued success of Scotch Whisky is a litmus test of the UK's exit from the EU," the body said.

"Whilst Brexit creates challenges, there are also potential opportunities if the industry's priorities are delivered."

A government spokesperson said: "Scotch is a UK export success story and we will support the industry so that it continues to thrive and prosper post-Brexit.

"The UK government has a strong relationship with the Scotch Whisky Association and is working closely with the industry as we aim to secure the best possible deal for the whole of the UK."

The comments come after fears were raised that chlorinated chicken could be imported into the UK after Brexit as part of a free trade agreement between the nations.