SWA chief: Scotch will return to growth next year

1st October, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

The Scotch whisky export market is expected to return to growth after battling numerous international challenges in recent years, the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association has said.

David Frost, CEO of the SWA, has signed an open letter calling for any further devolved powers to Scotland to be aimed at economic growth

David Frost, CEO of the SWA, claims that Scotch producers are hopeful that the industry’s period of softening is over

Speaking at a press dinner held in London last night, David Frost said the Scotch whisky industry is expected to report improved export results next year.

“Looking from the inside, the industry is in a pretty positive mood,” he said. “We are used to cycles and expect twists and turns. We feel are prospects are good […] and Scotch will come back to growth in the year ahead.

“This is because of some big projects that are going on. There are potentially 40 new entrants to the market, but not all of these will come to fruition.”

International challenges such as the on-going austerity campaign in China, “geopolitical risk” in Russia and the Ukraine, as well as currency issues in other emerging markets, have impacted the Scotch whisky sector in recent years.

In 2014, the industry suffered a 7% drop in value exports, while volumes fell 7%. In 2013, volumes increased 3% but exports to China plummeted by 30%, subsequently knocking the region out of the top 20 markets for Scotch whisky.

2012 saw Scotch whisky exports fall by 5% as the sector battled against a troubled Eurozone and failing Japanese consumption.

“Obviously the international market is important for us and what happens overseas determines what happens in the industry,” continued Frost.

“There are multiple reasons for the slowdown, but we are in 200 markets, so you win some, you lose some. It’s anecdotal at the moment. There’s a sense this softening is over and that things are picking up globally. The mood is positive. There are difficulties but we are getting through them and we feel the uplands are bright.”

The SWA is expected to release its most recent official export figures next month.

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