6th September, 2013 by Andy Young
Exports of Scotch whisky grew in the first six months of 2013, according to new figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association.
The figures show that the value of Scotch exports increased by 11% to nearly £2 billion in the first six months of this year, up from £1.78bn for the first half of 2012.
In total 563 million bottles of Scotch whisky were exported between January and June this year, up 9%, which equates to almost 50 million bottles, on the same period in 2012.
Gavin Hewitt, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: “Demand for Scotch whisky from mature and emerging markets around the world grew strongly in the first half of this year after a slow start in 2012.
“While these figures provide a snapshot of what is happening with exports, the industry is confident this expansion will continue. Significant new investment in the industry in Scotland by Scotch Whisky producers reflects the belief that growth will be sustainable.”
The US is still Scotch’s biggest market by value and it continued to grow through the first half of this year, increasing by 29% to £391m. It was followed by France which saw exports grow by 6% to £199m and Singapore which jumped by 19% to £174m.
Singapore is a distribution hub for much of Asia with a lot of the Scotch Whisky exported directly to that market shipped onto other countries in the region, including Taiwan, South Korea and China. The 20% decline to £25m in the value of direct exports to China was partly offset by the increase in shipments to Singapore and also reflects consolidation and more challenging current market conditions in China.
Other growth markets include Germany, up 28%, and Latvia, up 6%, which underlies the growth of the Russian market. Brazil recorded huge growth of 42% and Mexico is now the ninth biggest Scotch whisky market with exports increasing by 67% to £54m.
Hewitt added: “Scotch Whisky is widely recognised as a quality product and leads the way into new markets for other food and drink exports from the UK. It continues to be vital for the UK’s export-led recovery. Developments, such as new trade deals, help ensure success will continue.”