Record exports as scotch whisky defies downturn

15 April, 2010

Global exports of scotch whisky reached record levels in 2009 despite the economic downturn in some major markets, according to annual figures published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Scotch whisky exports rose by 3% in value to £3.13bn, contributing £99 every second to the UK trade balance. Export volumes increased by 4% worldwide, with the equivalent of 1.1bn 70cl bottles of scotch whisky shipped.

Scotch whisky enjoyed continuing success in France (+13% in value) and the United States (+13%), with Brazil (+44%) and South Africa (+7%) both significant emerging markets in 2009.

After a slow start to the year caused by trade de-stocking and weaker consumer confidence, the SWA reported an impressive export performance in the second half of 2009. In comparison to 2008, an extra £71m of blended scotch whisky was exported during the year (+3%), with malt scotch whisky shipments rising by £4m (+1%).

Scotch whisky exports have risen by £977m in shipment value over the last ten years, a 45% increase. Shipment volume has also increased by 13%, the equivalent of 131.8m 70cl bottles, since 2000.

Paul Walsh, chairman of the SWA, said: “Scotch whisky distillers have delivered record exports in the face of a global economic downturn. It is an impressive performance, underscoring the importance of scotch whisky to the UK economy. The industry is continuing to invest and sustain its efforts to secure fair access to export markets. We look to the next UK Government to work with us to build on scotch whisky’s success in the future.”

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said: “As one of the UK’s leading manufactured exports, all political parties should recognise and support the Scotch Whisky industry, both at home and abroad, during the next parliament. A review of the UK excise duty system is long overdue; we want to see a domestic operating and fiscal environment that better supports our global competitiveness.”

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