Scotch Whisky exports rise 8% to record £4.7bn

Official figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show that the export value of Scotch Whisky grew 7.8% to a record £4.7 billion in 2018.

The number of 70cl bottles exported also reached record levels — growing to the equivalent of 1.28 billion, up 3.6%.

More than 10,000 people are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry — with more than 40,000 jobs across the UK supported by Scotch.

The United States became the first billion pound export market for Scotch Whisky, growing to £1.04 billion last year.

The EU remains the largest region for exports, accounting for 30% of global value and 36% of global volume.

Blended Scotch Whisky underlined its position as the bedrock of the industry with global exports of £3.04 billion.

There was further growth in exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, growing 11.3% in 2018 to £1.3 billion.

Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) CEO Karen Betts said: “2018 was another year of strong export growth for Scotch Whisky, attesting to its enduring popularity in different countries and among cultures right across the world.

“Quite simply, Scotch Whisky remains the whisky everyone wants to drink.

“These figures underscore strength of the Scotch Whisky category, which has continued to grow despite the challenges posed by Brexit and by tensions in the global trading system.

“A key driver for global growth is the growing market for premium spirits.

“Scotch Whisky is in a great position to take advantage of this given its unrivalled reputation for quality, authenticity and provenance.

“However, the industry does not take continued growth for granted.

“We operate in a competitive global marketplace and so a competitive business environment in Scotland and across the UK is vital to Scotch Whisky’s success.

“For Scotch, that means fair and balanced regulation and taxes, including excise duty, to give distillers the confidence to invest in future growth.

“We also want to see the UK and EU agree to an open and positive future relationship, which delivers frictionless trade with the EU, and the UK to secure ambitious trading relationships with key markets around the world.

“In that context, it is important to our industry, as to many others, that the UK does not leave the EU without a deal at the end of March.

“We are urging the government and Parliamentarians to work together constructively and pragmatically to ensure that an agreement is reached as quickly as possible.”

The SWA said the largest export destinations for Scotch Whisky (defined by value) in 2018 were:

1 United States £1,039.5m +£117.8m +12.8% (£921.7m in 2017)

2 France £442.1m +£8.5m +2.0% (£433.6m in 2017)

3 Singapore £319.9m +£29.2m +10.0% (£290.7m in 2017)

4 Germany £173.9m -£9.8m -5.3% (£183.7m in 2017)

5 Spain £170.4m -£4.5m -2.6% (£174.9m in 2017)

6 Taiwan £168.4m +£8.0m +5.0% (£160.3m in 2017)

7 UAE £146.9m +£17.1m +13.2% (£129.8m in 2017)

8 India £138.8m +£35.3m +34.1% (£103.5m in 2017)

9 Mexico £131.5m +£20.5m +18.5% (£111.1m in 2017)

10 Latvia £129.8m +£9.5m +7.9% (£120.4m in 2017)

The SWA said the largest export destinations for Scotch Whisky (defined by volume, 70cl bottles) in 2018 were:

1 France 187.8m +9.4m +5.3% (178.4m bottles in 2017)

2 United States 136.8m +9.4m +7.4% (127.5m bottles in 2017)

3 India 112.6m +23.1m +25.9% (89.5m bottles in 2017)

4 Mexico 59.8m +6.3m +11.9% (53.4m bottles in 2017)

5 Spain 55.0m -5.7m -9.5% (60.8m bottles in 2017)

6 Japan 50.5m +16.7m +49.5% (33.8m bottles in 2017)

7 Germany 45.6m -10.2m -18.3% (55.8m bottles in 2017)

8 Singapore 44.5m -2.1m -4.5% (46.6m bottles in 2017)

9 South Africa 41.8m -10.2m -19.5% (52.0m bottles in 2017)

10 Brazil 38.9m +2.7m +7.5% (36.2m bottles in 2017)

In 2018, Scotch Whisky exports by global region (defined by value) were:

European Union: £1,392.0m +1.4% (30% of global exports)

North America : £1,260.3m +12.9% (27% of global exports)

Asia and Oceania: £1,127.5m +15.0% (24% of global exports)

LatAm & Caribbean: £368.4m +9.5% (8% of global exports)

MENA: £274.6m +4.8% (6% of global exports)

Africa (Sub-Saharan): £158.2m -8.2% (3% of global exports)

Western Europe (non-EU) £84.7m -10.8% (2% of global exports)

Eastern Europe (non-EU) £30.8m +30.1% (1% of global exports)

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.