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Double-digit growth for Scotch Whisky exports

Published:  18 October, 2018

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has reported double-digit growth in exports of Scotch Whisky boosted by an increasing popularity of single malt.

Total exports rose 10.8% in value to £1.97 billion in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the latest HMRC data published by the SWA.

Volume sales increased 5.6% in the same period taking the total number of bottles exported to 558 million.

Single malts continued to grow in popularity, with exports up 14.4% to £550 million in the six months, with single malts now making up 28% of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas.

Exports of blended Scotch Whisky grew too, rising 8.9% to an £1.26 billion.

It was “hugely encouraging” to see Scotch Whisky exports continue to grow, said SWA chief executive Karen Betts.

“Scotch Whisky is a luxury spirit, crafted with care in Scotland, and enjoyed all over the world –in established markets like the EU and emerging markets like India and China,” she said.

As the UK left the EU, the industry wanted to continue to trade with the EU as easily as it has while being able to pursue growth opportunities globally, she added.

“But in order to flourish overseas, the industry needs support at home.  Competitive tax rates are crucial, enabling producers to start-up, scale-up and invest for growth, such that they continue to be the dynamic job-creators, employers, tax-generators and exporters that they are.”

The EU remains the biggest regional destination for Scotch, accounting for 39% of the volume of Scotch Whisky exports and 31% of their value.

Exports to China in the first six months of 2018 were up 34.8% to £36.3 million, with India increasing by 44.4% to over £56 million, but the US remains the largest export market by value at over £400 million while with France is largest by volume at almost 90 million bottles.

Last week, the SWA reiterated its call on the government not to increase excise duty in the Autumn Budget.

The freeze on spirits excise duty announced by the Chancellor in November 2017 delivered almost £2 billion for the Treasury in the period February to August – a 9.1% (£163 million) increase on revenues during the same period in 2017, according to the SWAGGY.

Currently £3 in every £4 spent on the average priced bottle of Scotch Whisky in the UK goes directly to the Treasury in taxation.