2011 SWA Annual Review
01 Nov 2011
The Scotch Whisky industry is in excellent health and I was
honoured to take on the role of Chairman of the Scotch Whisky
Association (SWA) at the beginning of 2012.
I would like to thank Paul Walsh, my predecessor, for his
leadership and for handing over the chairmanship to me at a time of
unprecedented international success for the industry. Paul's
dedication to the work of the Association shows the importance of
Scotch Whisky to all member companies across the industry.
The industry's success is, of course, underpinned by the
valuable support of the SWA, from breaking down trade barriers to
campaigning on government policies and protecting Scotch Whisky
from fakes around the world.
As you will read later in the Annual Report, exports of Scotch
Whisky continue to grow as mature markets expand and demand
increases from newer markets, such as South America and Asia.
However the industry must remain focused on challenges to future
growth as economic uncertainty continues to stalk the global
economy and alcohol and health concerns move up the political
agenda at home and overseas.
Scotch Whisky is an iconic product and is a prime asset for
Scotland and the UK on the international stage. It is one of the
few Scottish exports found in every corner of the globe. The SWA
will continue to fight for fairer taxation and removal of
restrictions on trade - from addressing tax discrimination in
Brazil to tackling excessive regulatory burdens in Russia - to
allow its success to continue.
The SWA remains committed to promoting more responsible
attitudes to alcohol as part of its wider social responsibility
role. In the UK it is an active member of the Scottish Government
Alcohol Industry Partnership and the Public Health Responsibility
Deal in England. In Europe, it is a founder member of the Alcohol
and Health Forum and globally it is a driving force in the World
At home, the Scottish Government pressed ahead with its plans
for minimum unit pricing (MUP) and is on course to pass legislation
before summer 2012. Evidence indicates that MUP will be ineffective
in tackling alcohol misuse and is likely to be illegal. The
Association will continue to advocate the legal alternative of a
fair duty and tax system for all alcohol in combination with a
It remains a disappointment that the Scottish Government has
pursued a policy which will damage the Scotch Whisky industry in
domestic and overseas markets, where copycat trade restrictive
measures are expected.
Despite such challenges, there are many opportunities ahead. The
SWA marks its centenary in 2012. It will be a year to celebrate
Scotch Whisky's strong heritage as an iconic product which is vital
to the country's future economic performance.
Ian Curle, SWA Chairman