Following a few tough years which saw a levelling off and decline, scotch has returned to growth and exports have increased by 4% to more than £4bn. Single malts have also smashed through the £1bn value mark for the first time.
While the industry has every reason to be optimistic, the Scotch Whisky Association is all too aware of the challenges ahead in the form of Brexit and sterling uncertainty.
'We’re feeling optimistic about the future,' Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association acting chief executive, said.
'However, we have to be alert to the challenges, as well as the opportunities, of Brexit and political changes in the UK and across the globe. Industry success can’t be taken for granted and we need both the UK and Scottish governments to work in partnership with us to deliver a business environment – at home and overseas - that supports sustainable growth.'
Bottled blended scotch whisky is still by far the biggest category, accounting for 69% of all scotch volumes and values exported in 2016. Not content with that, value also increased for the first time since 2012 by 1.4% to £2.75bn.
It might not be the biggest, but single malt was hailed the stand-out performer last year. Exports grew at a faster rate than that of scotch overall and market share is increasing. It now boasts just over a quarter of the total value of scotch exports.
Scotch Whisky exports - key facts
- Up 4% in customs value on 2015 to £4,008,927,149 – worth £127 per second
- Volume up almost 5% to more than 1.2 billion bottles – almost 39 bottles exported every second
- Single malt scotch exports worth more than £1bn for the first time - up almost 12% to £1.02bn. This is the equivalent of 113m bottles shipped overseas
- Scotch was directly exported to 182 countries, up from 174 – showing its truly global nature