Scotch whisky gets a boost from China

Related tags Scotch whisky Whisky

The Scotch Whisky Association says that China has helped contribute
to a 2 per cent increase in exports for the first six months of
this year. The news comes despite the fact that a downturn in the
South Korean economy has led to a fall in exports to Asia as a
whole. Simon Pitman reports.

Referring specifically to the China and Indian markets, together with other emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia, the Association says that the strength of its exports to such markets has helped to raise Scotch Whisky exports by £20 million (€28m) or 2 per cent to £982 million during the period.

The association​ said the more Scotch was exported to China in the first half of 2004 than the whole of 2003, with export value growing by over 170 per cent (to £9.7 million). Distillers also welcomed encouraging growth in India, where sales grew by15 per cent to £6.2 million. Outside of the region sales in Russia grew by 5 per cent to reach £7.2 million, while in Brazil sales grew by 44 per cent to reach £11.6 million.

The rise in whisky exports to China is a reflection of the continued growth in the economy. Traditionally expensive Western spirits are bought to toast prosperity and new business deals. Similarly French cognac producers have reported significant increases in exports to China during the same period. Indeed, last year Cognac exports to China almost doubled to reach 3.4 million bottles.

The total volume of Scotch Whisky shipped overseas also rose by 3 per cent, the equivalent of an extra 14 million bottles leaving Scotland compared with the first half of 2003 (to 422m bottles).

The association also said that Bottled-in-Scotland blends were a key driver behind the rise in exports, experiencing growth in both volume (+12 per cent) and value - up 4 per cent to £770 million.

The rise of bottled malt whisky exports also continued, with an additional £22 million worth of malt whisky already sold compared with the first half of last year, an increase of 18 per cent to £144 million.

Announcing the figures, Ian Good, Chairman of The Scotch Whisky Association, said: "While Scotch can only be made in Scotland, it continues to appeal to a global audience. In the first half of 2004, we have seen a number of encouraging trends, with growth in established markets such as France and Spain complemented by rising exports to potentially important markets of the future such as China, Brazil and Russia.

"As these economies continue to develop, and a new generation of consumers aspire to try quality, international products, Scotch Whisky should be well placed as it becomes more affordable and accessible."

However, the Association reported that overall export volumes to Asia were down 14 per cent due largely to an economic downturn in South Korea which has impacted on sales of quality consumer goods.

Scotch Whisky's largest export market continued to be the US, with the value of exports rising 2 per cent overall to £142 million, as a result of heightened American interest in bottled malt sales.

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