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Craft beer and gin exports follow in footsteps of Scotch

Published:  26 January, 2017

Scotch may be one of the UK's greatest export success stories, but craft beer and gin are fast catching up, according to figures released by Defra yesterday to coincide with Burns' Night.

As with whisky, it is Scotland leading the way.

UK exports of gin rose 11% year on year between January and October 2016, hitting close to £400m, which represents some 150 million bottles sold internationally.

Two thirds of the UK's gin is produced in Scotland, which alone accounts for over half of the world's total gin exports.

Over the same period, UK exports of beer rose 16% to £479 million from January to October last year - equating to around a billion pints - a 16 per cent rise from the same period in 2015.

Scotland is again at the forefront, with a record 22 breweries opening in 2016 - bringing the total of operational breweries to over 100.

Scotch remains the UK's biggest food and drink export, with almost 900 million bottles exported to some 200 markets worldwide between January and September 2016, up 3%.

Andrea Leadsom, the UK government environment secretary, said: "Scotch whisky is a driving force of the UK food and drink industry, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all our food and drink exports each year. It's fantastic other businesses are following suit and exporting around the world."

Defra hopes whisky exports to the US and Canada will grow by £579 million over the next five years.

David Mundell, secretary of state for Scotland, said: "These statistics show the industry is going from strength to strength. They also show the growing thirst for other fantastic Scottish drinks such as gin and craft beer, which have seen business booming."