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Scotch records ‘best year’ for exports since 2013

Scotch whisky exports have increased by both volume and value for the first time since 2013, boosted by a weaker pound sterling post-Brexit, HMRC figures released by Whisky Invest Direct show.

Last year, the Scotch whisky industry experienced its best year for exports since 2013

According to data obtained by Whisky Invest Direct, the “world’s first stock exchange” for maturing Scotch whisky, Scotch exports grew 3.3% by value to £3.98 billion and 4.1% by volume to 337.3 million litres of pure alcohol in the 2016 calendar year.

In the first six months of 2016, value shipments were down 1.5% to £1.69m. The full-year results are a marked improvement compared to 2014 and 2015, when exports were hit by a number of economic turbulences.

Whisky Invest Direct claims Scotch exports benefited from the sterling’s drop in value following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on 23 June, which made UK exports cheaper for foreign buyers.

Nevertheless, figures show Scotch exports were in growth before the referendum, and in fact increased throughout each quarter of 2016 – the first time such growth has occurred in a decade.

The US performed particularly well, with value exports rising 14.2% to £855.6m, however value shipments to the key markets of France and Taiwan dropped 4.1% and 4% respectively.

Single-digit gains were witnessed in Singapore and Germany, while Spain’s value shipments returned to growth for the first time since 2007. Value exports to India hit a “record high” in the year, growing 13.8% to £96.5m.

“It is great to see this steady improvement in global Scotch shipments,” said Rupert Patrick, chief executive of Whisky Invest Direct. “In particular, I am pleased to see a mature market like Spain returning to high single-digit growth, and I am not at all surprised to see India performing so well. The potential there for Scotch whisky is extraordinary.”

Single malt whisky “performed particularly well” in 2016, with sales growing 9.6%. The category now accounts for 9% of total Scotch exported worldwide. Value exports of blended Scotch were up 0.3%, while volumes grew 2.2%.

Patrick added: “The consistent growth in exports throughout the year suggests that momentum is building again for Scotch whisky, for both blends and malt – which is good news also for our customers who have invested in maturing stocks of Scotch.”

Within its first year of operation, Whisky Invest Direct’s customers purchased enough liquid to make five million bottles of Scotch whisky.

Rupert Patrick, Diageo’s former commercial director for Africa markets, teamed up with gold and silver online exchange Bullion Vault in September 2015 to launch Whisky Invest Direct, which aims to solve the “real problem” of diminishing cash flow in the industry.

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