Value of Scotch exports grows in first half of 2017
30 Oct 2017
Support needed during seismic change of
Chancellor urged to cut tax at home to boost global success
Scotch Whisky exports increased in value by 3.4% in the first
half of the year to £1.8 billion, boosted by the continuing growth
in popularity of Single Malts across the globe, including the USA,
the industry's largest market.
This growth benefits the entire UK economy and its export
performance. Scotch remains Britain's biggest food and drink
export, making up almost a fifth of the sector's overseas
The analysis of official HMRC figures published by the Scotch
Whisky Association (SWA) today shows consumers are continuing to
sample more Single Malts with exports up 7% to £479 million in the
first six months of the year. Single Malts now make up more than a
quarter of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas.
This trend was clear in the USA where total Scotch exports were
up 8.6% to £388m and Single Malts jumped 14% to £123m.
Scotch exports to many other mature and emerging markets
increased. There was a marked return to growth in China - up 45% to
£27m as the country's economy grows - and exports to Japan expanded
19% to £43m.
The European Union (EU) remains the biggest regional destination
for Scotch with the value of exports up 4% to £559m, almost a third
of the total.
But the Scotch Whisky industry needs support to sustain growth
in the long term, not least as it manages the impact of Brexit.
Overall, the volume of whisky shipped overseas was down 2% to 528m
bottles, and this was in the context of relatively favourable
exchange rates. The lower volume and higher value is partly as
result of the shift to Single Malts.
Some markets declined in the face of continuing economic and
political headwinds, such as Brazil where the value of Scotch
exports fell 20% to £22m.
The SWA argues that a strong home market is required to underpin
the industry's global success and that Chancellor Philip Hammond
could help next month by cutting tax on an average bottle of Scotch
from an onerous 80%. Recent figures show that the UK market has
shrunk as excise duty has increased, with a near 4% hike in the
March Budget seeing Scotch sales fall by 1m bottles in the first
half of 2017. A fairer domestic excise regime would help boost a
world-famous industry which supports 40,000 jobs across the UK.
Such support at home would also encourage long-term confidence
and underpin continued investment in the industry and supply chain
that, in turn, relies on export success.
And one of the SWA's priorities for Brexit is domestic reform to
improve competitiveness, including changes to the current excise
Karen Betts, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive,
"The value of Scotch Whisky exports was up more than 3% in the
first half of this year to £1.8 billion, which is great news.
More and more consumers around the world are seeking out the
fabulous range of Single Malts. It is good to see demand for Scotch
increasing in a diverse range of mature and emerging markets around
"But the figures mask more concerning underlying trends. The
value of exports is up but the volume is down. With the
changes Brexit will bring to the way the industry operates and
trades, we need the support of the UK Government at home and
overseas if we are to grasp the opportunities and keep this
international success story going.
"Overseas demand for our quality product requires investment by
the industry in the UK and that needs government support. A strong
domestic platform for growth is vital and the Chancellor could take
a step in the right direction in next month's Budget by cutting the
tax on an average priced bottle of Scotch from the staggering level
Please see below table of top 20 markets by value and
For more information on the SWA visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk and
follow us on Twitter @ScotchWhiskySWA.
With media queries, please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA head of
communications (0131 222 9230 or 07432 605385 or email