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Scotch Whisky enjoys record-breaking year for exports

Published:  12 February, 2018

Scotch Whisky has enjoyed a record-breaking year for exports with both value and volume sales on the rise.

Export sales of the popular tipple were up 8.9% (£356 million) to £4.36 billion on volumes up 1.6% - the equivalent of 1.23 billion bottles exported globally, according to the latest HMRC data for 2017 compared to the previous year.

The previous high for export value was £4.27 billion in 2012 (HMRC).

Exports were boosted by single malt Scotch Whisky, which increased 14.2% in 2017 to £1.17 billion, according to the new data, which also showed Scotch Whisky accounted for 20% of all UK food and drink exports.

Having “undoubtedly” benefitted from recent falls in the value of the pound, in line with other exporters, this short-term boost would not distract the industry from working hard to secure the conditions for long-term growth, said Karen Betts, CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

“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 said.

With over 30% of trade with within the EU, it was vital that the UK government secured transition that would allow frictionless trade to continue with European markets and with those countries with which the EU has free trade agreements, she added.

“Longer term, we are urging the 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.”

Scotch Whisky is sold across 200 markets worldwide, with 39 bottles shipped overseas each second in 2017.

The EU, the top destination for exports, accounted for 31% of Scotch Whisky exports. North America and Asia/Oceania were second and third, with a share of 26% and 22% respectively.