Scotch Whisky - a vital UK industry
28 Jan 2015
New research shows £5bn total contribution to the UK
Scotch Whisky supports 40,300 UK jobs
Scotch Whisky is an iconic product recognised around the globe
and new research published today (28 January) reveals its vast
contribution to economic growth in Scotland and across the UK.
'The Economic Impact of Scotch Whisky Production in the UK'
report, commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) from
4-consulting, shows the industry contributes nearly £5 billion
overall to the UK economy. For every £1 million of value added, the
industry generates another £520,000 across the UK, for example in
spending on suppliers in a range of sectors, from packaging to
In terms of the value it adds to the UK economy, Scotch Whisky
is bigger than a number of industries, such as iron and steel,
textiles, shipbuilding and computing. It is also larger than other
UK food and drink sectors, including meat, dairy, beer and soft
drinks. In Scotland, it makes up almost three quarters of the food
and drink sector and is three times the size of Scotland's digital
or life sciences industries.
Key findings of the report include:
- Overall economic contribution of Scotch Whisky industry to UK
is almost £5bn (£4.956bn).
- Direct economic impact of industry, ignoring its wider economic
benefits, is £3.3bn, up 21% since 2008.
- Each year, Scotch Whisky producers spend £1.8bn on suppliers.
90% of that expenditure is in the UK, including £1.4bn in Scotland.
Dry goods, including bottles and packaging, cereals, energy and
transport and distribution make up the majority of purchases.
- Capital expenditure makes up £140m of the total industry spend.
Some 70% of that is outside Scotland in other parts of the UK and
overseas. The specialist nature of capital equipment, such as
machinery, vehicles and software, means it often has to be sourced
from further afield, spreading the impact of the Scotch Whisky
industry across a wide geographical area.
- The industry supports 40,300 jobs in the UK - up from around
35,000 in 2008 - in a range of sectors including glass
manufacturing and labelling. This total includes 10,900 people
directly employed by the industry in Scotland, up 6%.
- Every job in Scotch Whisky supports a further 2.7 British
- Scotch Whisky workers are among the most productive in Scotland
- they are around four times as efficient in production as
employees in aerospace, life sciences and the digital sectors.
As well as supporting employment in towns and cities, for
example in large bottling halls, Scotch Whisky is the lifeblood of
many rural communities where it sustains 7,400 jobs, contributes
around £900m in gross value added (GVA) and generates around £250m
Despite a slowdown in exports, the Scotch Whisky industry is
expanding at unprecedented levels with around 30 new distilleries
being planned or built across Scotland. Capital investment reached
£142m in 2013, up 31% since 2008.
Finally, Scotch exports are vital to the UK's balance of trade.
They are worth around £4bn a year and without them the UK's trade
deficit would have been 16% larger in 2013.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said:
"This new report shows just how significant the Scotch Whisky
industry is to the wider UK economy, adding £5bn of value,
supporting over 40,000 jobs, and contributing £4bn to Britain's
Scotch Whisky must be recognised as a cultural asset that boosts
growth and jobs, supports communities and combines the best of the
traditional and the modern.
"Given the scale and impact of the Scotch Whisky industry we
believe the government should show its support. One way of doing
so, in the short term, would be for the Chancellor to cut excise
duty by 2% in the March Budget. It is unfair on the industry and
consumers, and detrimental to the economy, that almost 80% of the
average price of a bottle of Scotch is taxation."
Notes to editors
With media enquiries, please contact: Rosemary Gallagher, SWA
communications manager, 0131 222 9230 or 07432 605 385 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or David Williamson, SWA government and
communications director, 0131 222 9226 or 07730 496151 or
For a full copy of the report see below
A short film on the report is available here
Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the contribution to the economy
of each individual producer, industry or sector in the United
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a key indicator of the state of
the whole economy. In the UK, three theoretical approaches are used
to estimate GDP: 'production', 'income' and 'expenditure'.
Scotch Whisky's £5bn (£4.956bn) GVA includes direct, indirect and
induced impacts. Its direct GVA is £3.3bn (£3.261bn).
To find out more about the 'Drop the Duty!' campaign to have
excise cut by 2% visit www.droptheduty.co.uk and follow it on