Close Menu

Rise in single malt exports boosts Scotch

There is now clear evidence that the recent decline in Scotch whisky is slowing, says the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), with the volume of exports down by 3% – half last year’s decline.

Overall, exports of Scotch in the first half of the year totalled £1.7 billion, the equivalent of 517 million bottles, with volumes falling just under 3%, compared to 5% for all of 2014. In particular, exports of single malt whiskies have seen strong growth, rising by 5% in value to £406m in the first half of this year.

Scotch exports to the US fell flat at £327m while Canada saw an increase of 20% £36m, with single malts and premium blends gaining popularity in both markets.

In Mexico Scotch exports increased by almost 12% to £43m, making it a top ten market for Scotch, while the value of single malt exports to the country increased by more than 70% in value to £3.6m.

Despite continued austerity measures in China, the market returned to growth with direct exports jumping 46% to £22m in the first half of the year. Blended Scotch drove much of this growth, with exports up 42%. Exports to Japan rose by 7.2% to £35m after many years of decline.

In Europe, Scotch exports to France and Spain were up in volume but down in value, while Germany was down in both value and volume. This is partly the result of a fall in exports to Russia. Elsewhere exports to Poland increased by 45% in value to £20m, Turkey by 28% to £23m, and Italy, “up marginally after years of decline”.

Outside Europe, the Brazil saw exports drop by nearly 30% in value due to the severe economic downturn and consequent weakening of the Real by a third since the start of the year. Sanctions and economic developments in Russia have knocked it out of the top 20 markets altogether. Finally, exports to India fell 11% by value and 8% by volume, however the country maintains its position as the fourth biggest market by volume.

“We’re starting to see some strong signals for growth and we continue to believe the long-term prospects for Scotch Whisky remain good”, said David Frost, chief executive of the SWA. “This is reflected in the large number of new distilleries opening, with half a dozen starting production in the last year or so.

“The growth of single malt exports shows that premium products are ever more popular. We had a decade of record growth, there was then a decline in exports in recent years largely because of the slowdown in the emerging markets, but signs of improvement are on the horizon. We will continue to push for more open access to markets by pressing for the removal of barriers such as high tariffs and unfair levels of taxation. Scotch needs a level playing field, in the UK and overseas, to continue to be a Scottish and British success story.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No