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Scottish government works with industry for economic success

Published:  23 July, 2008

Jim Mather, Scottish enterprise minister, has met with alcohol industry officials to develop a plan for achieving sustainable economic growth in the sector.

Alcohol is Scotland's top export representing around 16% of exports in 2006 - equating to 3.3 billion to the economy each year.

Mather commented: "This was further, positive engagement with industry to turn sustainable economic growth into a reality.

"The alcohol industry is a prime example of where Scotland has a comparative advantage where we need to protect and enhance Scotland's strengths, through taking a high quality product to domestic and international markets, attracting tourists and exploring new opportunities. It is crucial we work together to succeed."

At present, over a billion bottles of whisky are exported from Scotland each year with around one in fifty jobs in the country reliant on whisky production.

Gavin Hewitt, who is chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, welcomed the meeting.

He said: "We work closely with the Scottish government on issues ranging from tackling alcohol misuse to international promotion. Building on that, a key theme today (February 18) was the importance of joined up thinking in relation to the drinks sector."

Edwin Atkinson from the Gin and Vodka association also highlighted the importance of such talks.