Scotch whisky wins trademark in South Africa

The Scotch Whisky Association has been awarded a certification trademark in South Africa amidst a surge in exports in the past 12 months.

Scotch Whisky exports earn the UK £139 every second, totalling more than £4bn annually, according to the SWA Exports to South Africa increased by 20.7% to £144m in 2017.

Karen Betts, the SWA’s chief executive, said that the new trademark is “a milestone for Scotland’s national drink in our largest export market in Africa, and one of the largest in the world.”

“This registration offers Scotch Whisky a greater degree of legal protection and will allow us to prosecute rogue traders who seek to cash-in on the heritage, craft and quality of genuine Scotch.

The SWA has worked to secure trademarks overseas in recent months, including certification in Australia and Taiwan.

Last week, the SWA reported that tourist visits to Scotch distilleries rose to 1.9m last year, raising around £61m.

“Brexit and the weakness of sterling have given a short term boost to distilleries, and, despite some uncertainty about the long-term, they are continuing to invest to improve visitor facilities,” Betts said at the time of the report’s release.

The news comes as a number of categories within the drinks industry have experienced export growth ahead of the UK’s scheduled break from the EU next March.

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 – recovering from a dip in exports in 2015.

In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that Brexit is providing a boost to exports of British-made beers and spirits.

A report by GS1K released in March found that the exports of goods had risen by 12% in the year to November 2017, with alcoholic drinks exports seeing the most growth at 16%.

The overall rise equates to around a further £2.6bn added to the UK’s export market.

Meanwhile last month, figures published by HMRC found that exports of British gin reached a record high in 2017 having more than doubled in the past decade, breaking the £500m mark predicted in 2016 to reach £530 million.

The USA remains the largest importer of UK gin and Scotch by value. Exports of Scotch to the US rose to £922m, according to the SWA’s most up-to-date data.

In addition to analysing changes and trends based on export data, GS1 UK also surveyed its own members for their predictions on UK export growth. Just over half of those surveyed (56%) expect direct sales to account for an even larger percentage of overall export sales in the next five years, with craft beer and gin singled out as British products with particular global appeal.

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