Official figures from HM Revenue and Customs have shown a global growth by both the value and volume of Scotch Whisky exports in 2018.
Last year, the export value of Scotch whisky grew +7.8% by value, to a record £4.70bn. The number of 70cl bottles exported also reached record levels growing to the equivalent of 1.28bn, up +3.6%.
And there was a first as the United States became the first billion pound export market for Scotch whisky, growing to £1.04bn 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 £3.04bn. There was further growth in exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, growing by 11.3% in 2018 to £1.30bn.
Chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association 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.’
But Karen pointed out that this success is not something which will see the industry now rest upon, as she is aware how volatile the spirits industry can be.
She explained: ‘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 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 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).