Scotch whisky exports rise to almost £2billion

The value of Scotland’s whisky exports have risen to almost £2billion as established and new markets clamour to get as much of the ‘water of life’ as possible.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association exports increased in the first half of 2018 to £1.97 billion, a 10.8 per cent rise in the value of exports against the same period last year.

Analysis of official Revenue and Customs figures also shows the volume of exports increased by 5.6 per cent to almost 558 million bottles.

Single Malts continue to grow in popularity, with exports up 14.4 per cent to £550 million in the first six months of the year. Single Malts now make up 28 per cent of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas.

Exports of Blended Scotch Whisky grew too, rising 8.9 per cent to an export valuation of £1.26 billion. Scotch Whisky, which has been exported all over the world for 150 years, is now being shipped to major emerging markets at a faster rate than ever before.

Exports to China in the first six months of 2018 were up 34.8 per cent, to £36.3m, with India increasing by 44.4 per cent to over £56m.

The US remains the largest export market by value at over £400m, with France largest by volume at almost 90m bottles. The European Union remains the biggest regional destination for Scotch, accounting for 39 per cent of the volume of Scotch Whisky exports and 31 per cent of their value.

Companies such as Duncan Taylor, featured in issue 22 of Scotland Correspondent magazine, have reported a major boom in new and younger audiences attracted to Scotch as a fashionable drink of choice.

  • Full feature in Issue No.22

However, if Scotch Whisky is to sustain growth in the long term the SWA is calling on the UK government to freeze duty freeze on Scotch Whisky.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see Scotch Whisky exports continue to grow – and at double-digit rates – in the first half of this year,” said Karen Betts, SWA Chief Executive.

“Scotch Whisky is a luxury spirit, crafted with care in Scotland, and enjoyed all over the world -in established markets like the EU and emerging markets like India and China. As the UK leaves the EU, the industry wants to continue to trade with the EU as easily as it has while being able to pursue growth opportunities globally.

“But in order to flourish overseas, the industry needs support at home. Competitive tax rates are crucial, enabling producers to start-up, scale-up and invest for growth, such that they continue to be the dynamic job-creators, employers, tax-generators and exporters that they are.

“Right now, £3 in every £4 spent on Scotch in the UK is collected in tax by HM Treasury. The industry believes this tax burden is too high, and is more likely to stifle growth than nurture it.”

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