Boost for Scotch Whisky as new London office opens

03 Dec 2015

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss hails global success story

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has today celebrated the opening of offices in London, marking the growing success of one of the UK's most successful industries and exporters, the SWA and Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced today.

The move across the border to the financial capital of Europe marks growing investment in Scotland's booming Scotch Whisky trade, helping generate more jobs across the UK. The new office will be the largest permanently staffed presence the SWA has ever had outside Edinburgh.

Elizabeth Truss hailed the £5 billion contribution Scotch Whisky already makes to the economy and welcomed greater collaboration between UK Government and industry to create more jobs, attract more investment and drive up exports through the SWA's new London office. 

At an official opening the Secretary of State described the whisky industry as exemplary, not just for food and drink businesses but all UK businesses, on seizing opportunities and entering new international markets.

Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss said:

"Whisky is at the forefront of Britain's food and drink revolution, helping to drive the UK's global reputation for world-beating quality and authenticity. It is the powerhouse behind our £100 billion food and drink industry and is a global export success with 38 bottles leaving our shores every second.  

"Over the next five years, we want to unleash the potential of Britain's finest food and drink producers by boosting exports, securing investment and flying the flag for British produce both at home and abroad. We will continue to work closely with the SWA and industry to ensure they have the support, skills and opportunities to take risks and gain access to emerging markets. It is yet more proof of how we are stronger together in the United Kingdom."

The SWA today (Thursday 3 December) held the lunchtime event to mark the opening of its new London office, attended by MPs, government officials, ambassadors,  diplomats, think tanks and exporting companies.

Scotch Whisky is shipped to almost 200 markets worldwide and exports are worth around £4 billion annually. The industry adds £5bn a year in value to the UK economy and supports more than 40,000 jobs, including many in the supply chain outside Scotland. As well as strengthening the SWA's links overseas, the London office will develop relationships across Whitehall and Westminster and support five jobs.

David Frost, SWA chief executive, said:

"We believe other industries can learn from the success of Scotch Whisky. We are keen to work in collaboration with the government to help grow exports and the wider UK economy.

"The Scotch Whisky industry is going through a time of expansion. There are now 117 distilleries in Scotland, with seven opening in the last year or so. About 40 new distilleries are currently being planned or built to meet demand for the quality product.

"Our London office, near Westminster, will give us even better access to decision makers in the UK and internationally."

The SWA, headquartered in Edinburgh, was established more than 100 years ago. The trade body works to sustain Scotch Whisky's place as the world's leading high-quality spirit drink and its long-term growth worldwide.

The London office is headed by Sarah Dickson, director of global affairs, responsible for the SWA's international and European Union business. Dickson was HM Ambassador to Guatemala and Honduras before joining the SWA earlier this year.

Ends

Notes to editors
Guests at the event at the London Doubletree Hilton, Westminster were offered a Scotch Whisky Maltberry Sour cocktail, containing fresh British blackberries. Pictures of the event are available on request on the afternoon of 3 December.

SWA media contact: Rosemary Gallagher, head of communications, 0131 222 9230/07432 605385 or email rgallagher@swa.org.uk

For information on the Scotch Whisky Association visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk
@ScotchWhiskySWA