SWA confirms record Scotch exports in 2017

Global exports of Scotch whisky grew in both volume and value (by 1.6% and 8.9% respectively) in 2017 to a total of £4.36 billion – the equivalent of 1.23bn bottles – smashing a previous export high of £4.2bn in 2012.

Single malt Scotch continued to dominate growth, increasing its value by 14.2% in 2017 to £1.17bn.

According to official HMRC figures, Scotch whisky accounted for over 20% of all UK food and drink exports in 2017, single malt continuing to dominate growth, increasing its value by 14.2% in 2017 to £1.17bn.

Karen Betts, CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association, said the results were “encouraging” and signalled the continued recovery of the Scotch category, after exports fell to £3.86bn in 2015.

“Already a strong export, loved for its sophistication, diversity and provenance, it’s great to see Scotch continuing to grow in established and new markets. Scotch Whisky is not just a core part of Scotland’s national identity and heritage, it is also a fundamental part of our export economy,” said Betts.

The biggest export destination by value for Scotch whisky remains the US, which saw its value increase by 7.7% to £922m in 2017, followed by France (+2.1%) with £433m.

Big gains were seen in Singapore, where the value of Scotch exports increased by 29% to £291m, however the biggest increase was reported in Latvia, where the value of Scotch exports more than doubled from £59m in 2016 to £120m in 2017 (+105%).

Betts pointed to the drop in the value of the pound amid Brexit negotiations as being partly responsibly for some of this success, calling it an “short-term boost”, and warned that continued “frictionless trade” with the EU would be vital to the long-term growth of Scotch.

“It’s very important to the industry that our global markets remain robust and resilient as the UK navigates Brexit and establishes new trading relationships around the world,” she added. “We have undoubtedly benefited from recent falls in the value of the pound, as have other exporters. But this short-term boost will not distract the industry from working hard to secure the conditions for long-term growth.

“With over 30% of our trade with EU, it is vital that the UK Government secures transition that allows frictionless trade to continue to with European markets and with those countries with which the EU has free trade agreements.

“Longer term, we are urging the UK government to secure as smooth trade conditions as possible with Europe alongside pursuing ambitious free trade deals with key markets around the world, tackling barriers to trade, and bolstering the legal protection of Scotch Whisky.”

Overall, the EU accounted for 31% of Scotch whisky exports, followed by North America (26%) and Asia/Oceania markets (22%).

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