By Andrew Starke
Global exports of Scotch whisky reached record levels in 2009 despite the economic downturn in some major markets, with Australia an increasing important destination.
According to annual figures published by The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Scotch whisky exports rose by 3 percent in value to £3.13bn, contributing £99 every second to the UK trade balance.
Export volumes increased by 4 percent worldwide last year, with the equivalent of 1.1bn 70cl bottles of Scotch whisky shipped.
The category enjoyed continuing success in France (up 13 percent in value) and the United States (also up 13 percent), with Brazil (up 44 percent) and South Africa (up 7 percent) both significant emerging markets.
Australia moved into the top ten export markets by volume over 2009 with 32.9 million 70cl bottles finding their way to local wholesalers and retailers.
According to SWA, Australia remains an important export market, with shipments set to reach £63m in 2010, an increase of 3 percent on the previous year.
Scotch whisky is worth £4 billion a year in added value to the Scottish economy and underpins about 35,000 jobs.
“Scotch Whisky distillers have delivered record exports in the face of a global economic downturn,” said SWA Chairman, Paul Walsh.
“It is an impressive performance, underscoring the importance of Scotch whisky to the UK economy. The industry is continuing to invest and sustain its efforts to secure fair access to export markets.”
Top ten export markets by value (Jan-Dec 2009)
Top ten export markets by volume (Jan-Dec 2009)