Scotch Whisky exports on the road to recovery, with value up 19%

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Scotch whisky Scotch whisky association

Global exports of Scotch Whisky grew to £4.5bn ($6.1bn) during 2021 as the industry continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic and US tariffs, according to figures released this month by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Despite 2021’s return to growth, the value of Scotch Whisky exports remains below pre-pandemic levels: with exports 8% lower than in 2019. The industry warns that ongoing trade disruption, growing supply chain costs and inflationary pressures will remain to put pressure on the category.

Volume growth

In 2021, the value of Scotch Whisky exports was up 19% by value to £4.5bn ($6.1bn): representing growth of £705m compared to 2020 but down £403m on 2019.

In volume terms, exports grew 21% to the equivalent of 1.38bn 70cl bottles: up 238m bottles compared to 2020 and up 73m compared to 2019.

On average, 44 bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported every second (up from 36 bottles per second in 2020)

Growth in 2021 was driven in particular by consumers in Asia Pacific and Latin America, with value increases of 21% and 71% respectively.

Key emerging markets for Scotch Whisky - like India, Brazil, and China - grew strongly.

In value terms, the US is the largest market for Scotch Whisky: worth twice as much as the second largest market of France.  Exports to the US grew by 8%, despite the first quarter of 2021 impacted by the 25% tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Exports to the EU grew by 8% in the first year since the UK left the transition period. 



Mark Kent, CEO of the SWA, said: "The global footprint of the industry in 2021 is a clear sign that the Scotch Whisky industry is on the road to recovery.

“Value and volume are both up as consumers return to bars and restaurants, people return to travel and tourism, and we all return to a degree of normality after a period of enormous uncertainty for consumers and business.

“Scotch Whisky growth in global markets means more jobs and investment across Scotland and the UK supply chain. The industry has continued to invest in its production sites, tourist attractions and workforce to ensure that Scotch Whisky remains at the heart of a dynamic international spirits market and attracts new consumers around the world."

Despite the positive signs of growth, this is no time for complacency, warns Kent. 

"The industry continues to face global challenges, including ongoing trade disruption, growing supply chain costs and inflationary pressures, and undoubtedly there is some road to run before exports return to pre-pandemic levels.

“The UK and Scottish governments should do all they can to support the industry’s continued recovery by making the most of global opportunities, including the ongoing UK-India trade talks, ensuring fairness in the UK duty system, and investing in a more sustainable future as the industry works to reach net-zero by 2040.”

Related topics Markets Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider

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