The Scotch Whisky industry expects to see “significant growth” in exports to India, China and Brazil in the coming years to augment established growing markets in mainland Europe and North America.
That’s according to Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) CEO Karen Betts who was speaking at the SWA’s annual conference on Wednesday.
Scotch Whisky is the UK’s largest food and drink export, accounting for 21% of all food and drink exports.
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.
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.
Betts told the conference: “Our markets of the future are our established markets in Europe and North America as well as today’s emerging markets, in which we expect to see significant growth over the coming years.
“India, China and Brazil, alongside other buoyant markets in these regions, are key to future growth overseas and prosperity at home.
“Looking to 2050, our ambition is to secure Scotch Whisky’s position as the world’s number one internationally traded spirit.
“To do this, our companies will need to constantly work to improve their export markets alongside successful work in partnership with governments at home and overseas to ensure that the right trading and regulatory conditions foster growth.
“Increasing free trade globally has benefitted our industry enormously in the last 30 years.
“It is critical to us that, over the next 30 years, global trade does not go into retreat.
“The industry is determined to achieve this growth in a sustainable way.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure our environmental sustainability and play our full part in Scotland’s efforts to tackle climate change.
“Our industry depends on natural resources and our distilleries are set in some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes.
“So we are investing significant time, energy and money in moving our industry towards net-zero.
“This will involve working ever more closely with the Scottish Government to ensure future regulation enables us to achieve both export growth and emission reductions while remaining competitive globally.
“Improving Scotland’s infrastructure is key so, as we grow, Scotch Whisky can be moved from distillery to bottling plant to ports in carbon-neutral ways …”