Inside the Aberfeldy Distillery
Global exports of Scotch whisky reached more than £6 billion for the first time in 2022, according to figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The value of Scotch whisky exports grew by 37 per cent in 2022 compared with the year before, to £6.2 billion, while the number of 70cl bottles exported grew by 21 per cent to the equivalent of 1.67 billion.
The data from the SWA, released on 10 February, also revealed that Asia-Pacific has overtaken the EU as the industry's latest regional market. Taiwan, Singapore and China reported double-digit growth in Scotch whisky sales, while India replaced France as the largest Scotch whisky market by volume, hitting 219 million bottles – a 60 per cent rise on 2021. Although Scotch still only accounts for 2 per cent of the Indian whisky market, a UK-India free trade agreement which eases the 150 per cent tariff on Scotch whisky imports could boost market access for Scotland's whisky producers.
There was also strong growth in established EU markets including Germany and Spain, and the United States continued its recovery following the impact of tariffs on single malt Scotch whisky (in 2022, it was the industry's only market with exports valued at more than £1 billion).
Scotch Whisky Association CEO Mark Kent said: "During a year of significant economic headwinds and global supply chain disruption, the Scotch whisky industry continued to be an anchor of growth, supporting investment and job creation across Scotland and the UK.
“The enduring strength of Scotch whisky as the UK’s leading food and drink export is its global appeal to consumers who recognise the quality of the spirit, with production increasingly grounded in sustainable practices as we continue to reduce our impact on the environment by investing in the future. Passing £6 billion in export value for the first time is a milestone, and testament to the work of our member companies and the tens of thousands of employees across Scotland and the UK supply chain who make Scotch whisky a global success story of which we are rightly proud."
Kent continued: “With the right support from our home governments, we remain confident that the industry can continue to deliver for the Scottish and wider UK economy. We look forward to collaborating with government and regulators on initiatives including sustainability and responsible drinking, alongside our work to further boost exports, creating jobs and investment in communities across the country."
Barbara Scott, operations director at Edinburgh-based distiller and bottler Young Spirits, she said: “It is amazing to see such exports in Scotch whisky increase in 2022 despite challenges across the global supply chain. At Young Spirits, we have committed to enabling the growth of producers and distillers. We are excited for the ambitious programme of growth for our own Scotch whisky brands (Ferg & Harris and Uhuru) over the coming year which will see us developing into new markets.”
Mairi Gougeon, the Scottish Government's rural affairs and islands cabinet secretary, said: "Scotch whisky is a world-renowned brand and its value to the Scottish economy is evidenced by the large share of the UK’s food and drink export market it commands. Food and drink is one of our priority export sectors and the continued growth in global markets means more jobs and investment across Scotland. The whisky industry alone employs 11,000 people directly in Scotland, over 7,000 of whom work in rural areas and a further 42,000 jobs across the UK.
"We will continue to engage with and listen to the whisky industry to understand how we can improve export opportunities and remove barriers to trade."