Scotch Whisky exports grow in value and volume

04 Sep 2013

Strong performance in biggest market, the USA

Scotch Whisky exports grew in the first six months of 2013 as the industry continues to lead the way for the UK's food and drink sector and export-led recovery.

Figures released today by the Scotch Whisky Association show that the value of exports increased by 11% to almost £2 billion in the first six months of this year from £1.78 billion in the first half of 2012. Some 563 million bottles of Scotch Whisky were exported between January and June this year, up 9%, or almost 50 million bottles, from the same period in 2012.

This snapshot of export performance in the first half of 2013 reflects growing demand from a wide range of markets against a slowdown during the same period a year earlier. On an annualised basis, the value of exports rose by 6% to £4.5bn from £4.2bn in the 12 months up to the end of June.

There was growth in mature markets, such as the USA and France, with a welcome return to growth in Spain, alongside increasing demand from emerging economies, such as South Africa and South America.

The USA remains the biggest market by value, increasing by 29% to £391m in the first half of 2012. It was followed by France which saw exports grow by 6% to £199m and Singapore which jumped by 19% to £174m. Singapore is a distribution hub for much of Asia with a lot of the Scotch Whisky exported directly to that market shipped onto other countries in the region, including Taiwan, South Korea and China. The 20% decline to £25m in the value of direct exports to China was partly offset by the increase in shipments to Singapore and also reflects consolidation and more challenging current market conditions in China.

Much of the increase in exports to Germany (+28%) and Latvia (+6%) underlies the growth of the Russian market. Direct exports to Poland reached £20m and are almost 10 times the level in 2004 when the country acceded to the European Union.

Exports to South Africa rose by 19% to £65m making it the seventh biggest overseas market for Scotch Whisky. South Africa has been an important market for Scotch Whisky for several years. Other parts of Africa are now following suit.

Across South and Central America there was rapid growth in the first six months. Mexico is now the ninth biggest market with exports increasing by 67% to £54m. Economic growth has been steady in Mexico and the pace has accelerated recently. Brazil recorded growth of 42% to reach £49m of Scotch Whisky exports, confirming the industry's underlying confidence in that market. Venezuela was up 9% to £46m and the distribution hub of Panama grew by 86% to £31m to meet increasing demand across Latin America.

Trade agreements with a number of countries in Latin America came into force last month which will provide a further boost to Scotch Whisky exports to the region through an end to import tariffs and creation of fairer tax arrangements.

Gavin Hewitt, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said:

"Demand for Scotch Whisky from mature and emerging markets around the world grew strongly in the first half of this year after a slow start in 2012. While these figures provide a snapshot of what is happening with exports, the industry is confident this expansion will continue. Significant new investment in the industry in Scotland by Scotch Whisky producers reflects the belief that growth will be sustainable.

"Scotch Whisky is widely recognised as a quality product and leads the way into new markets for other food and drink exports from the UK. It continues to be vital for the UK's export-led recovery. Developments, such as new trade deals, help ensure success will continue."

Releases from bond for sale in the UK were down by 5.47% to 37.3 million bottles from 39.5m in the first six months of last year.


This table shows top 20 Scotch Whisky exports by value and volume.

With any media enquiries please contact Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch Whisky Association communications manager, 0131 222 9230 or 07432 605 385 or email or Campbell Evans, government and communications director on 0131 222 9231 or 07768 002 262 or email

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