US becomes first billion-pound export market for Scotch as exports boom

US becomes first billion-pound export market for Scotch as exports boom
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Suslik1983

It’s a golden period for British alcohol with the export value of Scotch whisky reaching a record £4.7 billion in 2018, according to official HMRC figures.

This follows news that international sales of British gin have reached a record high of £612 million.

The US has become 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 by 11.3% in 2018 to £1.30 billion.

“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,” said Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

“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.”