UK gin and Scotch exports reach record levels

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Scotch whisky International trade Scotch whisky association

Both UK gin and Scotch whisky enjoyed a record year for exports in 2017, growing 12% and 8.9% in value respectively.

Scotch whisky grew in volume by 1.6% and value by 8.9% to reach a total of £4.36bn ($6bn), with 1.23 billion bottles exported worldwide. Scotch Whisky now accounts for 20% of all UK food and drink exports.

Of particular note was a rise in exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky (up 14.2% to £1.17bn/$1.6bn).

Karen Betts, CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "These encouraging figures show how popular Scotch whisky is around the world. Already a strong export, loved for its sophistication, diversity and provenance, it's great to see Scotch continuing to grow in established and new markets.”

In 2017, exports of gin broke the £500m ($695m) barrier, having doubled in value over the last 10 years.

Exports increased 12% by value and 7% by volume, with around £530m ($737m) worth of gin was sold abroad, equating to 189 million bottles of gin.

The US is the biggest market for gin exports, worth £184m ($256m). In the EU, Spain is the largest market. Exports to Asia and Oceania are small but growing.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) predicts that gin will be a £2bn ($2.78bn) industry by the end of 2018.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: There’s no doubt that those overseas are drawn to the quality of gin made here – but gin is also a quintessentially British spirit, and perfect for anyone looking to tap into Brand Britain overseas.

“We are, by some margin, the largest exporter of gin in the world, with huge potential for growth, and our industry needs to take further advantage of this.”


Both organisations urge the government to support exports post-Brexit.

Regarding the Scotch whisky industry, Betts said: "It's very important to the industry that our global markets remain robust and resilient as the UK navigates Brexit and establishes new trading relationships around the world.

"With over 30% of our trade with EU, it is vital that the UK Government secures transition that allows frictionless trade to continue to with European markets and with those countries with which the EU has free trade agreements.

"Longer term, we are urging the UK government to secure as smooth trade conditions as possible with Europe alongside pursuing ambitious free trade deals with key markets around the world, tackling barriers to trade, and bolstering the legal protection of Scotch Whisky."

Regarding wine and spirits, Beale said: On leaving the EU, we want more government support to increase exports to developed markets such as Australia, Japan, China and the US. The removal of tariffs would allow Britain to maintain its position as the world's largest spirits exporter and further boost the UK economy and provide more jobs.”

Related topics Markets Beer & cider

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