The office, at 10 Greycoat Place, London SW1P 1SB, will be the largest permanently staffed presence the SWA has ever had outside Edinburgh.
Elizabeth Truss hailed the £5 billion contribution scotch whisky already makes to the economy and welcomed greater collaboration between UK Government and industry to create more jobs, attract more investment and drive up exports through the SWA’s new London office.
UK Government’s Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, said: “Whisky is at the forefront of Britain’s food and drink revolution, helping to drive the UK’s global reputation for world-beating quality and authenticity. It is the powerhouse behind our £100 billion food and drink industry and is a global export success with 38 bottles leaving our shores every second.
“Over the next five years, we want to unleash the potential of Britain’s finest food and drink producers by boosting exports, securing investment and flying the flag for British produce both at home and abroad. We will continue to work closely with the SWA and industry to ensure they have the support, skills and opportunities to take risks and gain access to emerging markets. It is yet more proof of how we are stronger together in the United Kingdom,” said Truss.
The SWA reports that scotch whisky is shipped to almost 200 markets worldwide and exports are worth around £4 billion annually. The industry is said to support more than 40,000 jobs, including many in the supply chain outside Scotland. As well as strengthening the SWA’s links overseas, the London office will develop relationships across Whitehall and Westminster and support five jobs.
SWA chief executive David Frost said: “We believe other industries can learn from the success of Scotch whisky. We are keen to work in collaboration with the government to help grow exports and the wider UK economy.
“The scotch whisky industry is going through a time of expansion. There are now 117 distilleries in Scotland, with seven opening in the last year or so. About 40 new distilleries are currently being planned or built to meet demand for the quality product.
“Our London office, near Westminster, will give us even better access to decision makers in the UK and internationally.”
The Edinburgh headquartered SWA was established more than 100 years ago. The London office is headed by Sarah Dickson, director of global affairs, responsible for the SWA’s international and European Union business. Dickson was the UK ambassador to Guatemala and Honduras before joining the SWA earlier this year.