Global exports of Scotch whisky reached £5.6 billion in 2023, SWA reports

Global exports of Scotch whisky reached £5.6 billion in 2023, SWA reports

SWA chief executive says Scotch whisky industry “remarkably resilient” but success “cannot be taken for granted”

News | 15 Feb 2024

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The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has released its annual report showing global export figures for the value and volume of Scotch whisky. The 2023 figures reveal that the value of Scotch exports reached £5.6 billion in 2023, while the equivalent volume of 1.35 billion 70cl bottles of Scotch were exported.

 

Both overall figures are down on 2022, with the value of exports falling by 9.5 per cent and the volume by 19 per cent. However, the figures show an increase on 2019’s pre-pandemic report.

 

2022 has been described as a “bumper year” for Scotch whisky global exports. Last year’s report showed global Scotch exports topping £6 billion for the first time, attributed to the post-pandemic reopening and restocking of markets and full return of global travel retail in 2022. In comparison, the SWA said the 2023 numbers were a “more normalised depiction” of the current market.

 

The largest region by value in 2023 remained Asia-Pacific, which climbed above the EU in 2022. The figure was supported by record exports to China, where the market is up 165 per cent on 2019. Despite a fall of 7 per cent on its 2022 global export value, and a fall of 9 per cent on the figure from 2019, the United States remained the most valuable individual market for Scotch exports.

 

The biggest market by volume was France, which overtook India despite falling behind the other country in 2022. India is a priority growth market for the SWA, which has called for a trade agreement to lower the tariff on Scotch imports into India.

 

Mark Kent, chief executive of the SWA, said: “Scotch whisky has once again shown its export strength despite significant challenges across a volatile global trading environment. The figures demonstrate that Scotch whisky brands and distilleries are investing in their teams, their tourism offering, their long-term sustainability, and their global presence to ensure that Scotch continues to be the world’s favourite whisky.

 

“We know that the Scotch whisky industry is remarkably resilient as we look at these numbers against the backdrop of rising costs for consumers and businesses, but the figures are a reminder once again that the Scotch whisky success story cannot be taken for granted. We need to see more tangible support from government both at home and in our priority markets in order to continue to grow our export numbers, and the resultant investment, employment and economic benefits that come with that.

 

“A cut to spirits duty in the Spring Budget would be a step in the right direction, giving the industry platform at home to push forward with international growth. Government must also do away with any notion of restricting the marketing of Scotch whisky in Scotland, which would have a significant and lasting impact on the industry’s ability to generate future growth.”

 

UK government minister for exports Lord Offord added: “Scotch whisky is a major UK exporting success story contributing billions of pounds to the economy and supporting thousands of jobs.

 

“We want the UK to be an export-led economy and reach a trillion pounds of exports a year by 2030. It’s fantastic to see whisky exports in 2023 continuing to outperform pre-pandemic levels as businesses take advantage of our free trade deals and expand into new markets around the world.”

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