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US is first billion-pound export market for Scotch

The US became the first billion-pound export market for Scotch whisky in 2018, as global value and volume exports reached a record high, according to the latest figures.

The US has become the first billion-pound export market for Scotch whisky

Figures released by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and quoted by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), revealed the total export value of Scotch whisky increased 7.8% to reach a record £4.07 billion (US$5.25bn) in 2018.

In volume terms, 1.28bn 700ml bottles were shipped out of Scotland last year – a 3.6% increase compared to the year before.

The EU remains the largest region for Scotch whisky exports, accounting for 30% of global value and 36% of global volume.

Blended Scotch whisky continues to be the backbone of the Scotch whisky sector, with global exports reaching £3.04bn (US$3.92bn) last year.

Single malt exports experienced double-digit growth of 11.3%, reaching £1.30bn (US$1.68bn).

Karen Betts, CEO of the SWA, said: “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.”

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