Beverage News / Wine & Spirits

Scotch whisky exports hit record level

US remains top market with exports up 16 percent

April 2, 2013

Rising demand for Scotch whisky from both mature and emerging markets saw the value of exports grow for the eighth consecutive year, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Edinburgh, Scotland. Exports of the alcohol beverage hit a record £4.3 billion or approximately $6.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 87 percent in the last 10 years, the SWA reports. Scotch whisky currently leads the way for British food and drink in overseas markets, forming about 80 percent of Scottish food and drink exports and a quarter of U.K. food and drink exports, it says.

The total value of Scotch whisky exports grew by 1 percent last year to reach approximately $6.48 billion. Based on this, Scotch whisky is now worth approximately $205 a second to the U.K. balance of trade.

Falling sales in southern Europe were more than matched by growing exports elsewhere. Exports to Germany, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Singapore, Taiwan, China, India, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru all increased in 2012, the SWA reports.

With increasing consumer knowledge of Scotch whisky around the world, demand grew for Single Malt and premium Blended Scotch whisky. Single Malt exports have risen during the last 10 years by 190 percent from approximately $407 million to approximately $1.2 billion, the SWA reports.

The United States remains the top market by value for Scotch whisky with exports breaking through the approximately $1 billion barrier for the first time to reach approximately $1.2 billion in 2012. Demand from the United States is expected to increase as consumer confidence grows and many people trade up to premium brands.

“Scotch whisky continues to lead the way for U.K. food and drink exports,” said Gavin Hewitt, chief executive officer of the SWA, in a statement. “A combination of successful trade negotiations, excellent marketing by producers, growing demand from mature markets, particularly the USA, and the growing middle class in emerging economies helped exports hit a record £4.3 billion last year. …

“There is confidence in the future of the industry, illustrated by the £2 billion capital investment that Scotch whisky producers have committed over the next three to four years,” he continued. “New distilleries have opened and older ones brought back to use to meet rising demand.”

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