Rising demand in the US following sterling slump drives Scotch exports to three-year high

Jo Gilbert

Scotch whisky

In the wake of the Brexit vote and the subsequent slump of the pound, the only upside was that the UK’s exports seemed poised to become more attractive to oversees buyers.

That upside has kicked in for exports of Scotch whisky, which returned to growth for the first time in three years in 2016.

In 2016, 337.3 million litres were shipped worldwide, worth £3.98bn.

This was a rise of 3.3% in value and 4.1% in volume compared to 2015.

The latest figures from HMRC, show the strongest exports of Scotch whisky since 2013, helped both by the devaluation of the pound and strong growth in consumer demand worldwide, led by top value market, the US.

According to WhiskyInvestDirect, who released the HMRC figures, overseas sales soared by 8% in the last quarter of 2016, underlining the boost to UK exports brought by the plunge in the value of the pound following the EU referendum last June.

Scotch performed well in most regions.

In the EU, US and Asia, which account for 78% of the value worldwide Scotch exports, both the volume and the value of Scotch imported were higher than in 2015.

On a country level, exports to the United States, the largest market by value for Scotch, rose by 14.2%.

As well as Japan, where Scottish food and drink export levels to Japan touched nearly £100m recently, Scotch exports performed well globally.

“In particular, I am pleased to see a mature market like Spain returning to high single digit growth, and I am not at all surprised to see India performing so well. The potential there for Scotch whisky is extraordinary,” Rupert Patrick, chief executive of WhiskyInvestDirect, said.

“The consistent growth in exports throughout the year suggests that momentum is building again for Scotch whisky, for both blends and malt.”



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