Scotch exports hit record high

The scotch whisky category belied global economic instability in 2011 by growing sales value 23% to a record £4.2billion.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) credited rising demand in both emerging and mature markets for the value growth, which has increased by an average of 10% per year for the last five years.

Exports to the US, the biggest market by value, rose 31% in 2011, breaking the £600m barrier for the first time to reach £654.9m.

While France, the category’s second biggest market by value, saw exports grow by 27% to £535.4m.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Despite continuing economic uncertainty, scotch whisky continues to meet increasing demand from all corners of the globe.

“It continues to appeal to consumers in countries such as the USA and France and is being enjoyed by younger professionals in newer markets in Asia and Latin America.”

Exports to Singapore, which serves as a distribution hub for much of Asia, rose by 44% to £317.9m, while Taiwan saw an increase of 44% to £155.2m.

In South America, Brazil was the fastest growing market by value with exports up 48% to £99.2m.

The SWA said the industry reacted to increased demand in recent years by investing £1bn in production capacity.

The Association also reiterated its on-going focus of lobbying governments to reduce draconian tax levees.

Hewitt added: “Securing fair market access and reducing tariffs is a priority for the industry. India is a priority for this year. We are hopeful a Free Trade Agreement can be signed which will lead to a reduction in the onerous 150% import tariff.”