Scotch whisky exports surge after Brexit vote

Scotch whisky exports increased for the first time since 2013

Scotch whisky exports returned to growth last year after two years of decline, helped by the Brexit vote and growing consumer demand.

Scotch whisky generated £3.98bn in export sales last year – selling the equivalent of 38 bottles a second – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs trade data revealed.

Single malt whisky sales increased 9.6%, compared with 2015. The value of single malt export sales topped £1bn, up from £914M in 2015.

The Scotch whisky industry benefitted from the UK’s vote to leave the EU, WhiskyInvestDirect head of research Leon Kuebler claimed. He said the Brexit vote had led sterling to fall in value, making UK exports cheaper to foreign buyers.

‘EU referendum’

“Prior to the EU referendum, the sterling value of Scotch exported in the first half of 2016 was down 1% on the same period of 2015, despite a 3.2% rise in the amount of Scotch dispatched during this period,” said Kuebler.

“By contrast, in the last six months of 2016, Scotch exports rose 6.8% in value, while volume shipments were up 4.8%.”

Growing overseas demand for Scotch whisky also boosted export sales. Each quarter of 2016 saw increased sales – the first time that’s happened this decade.

The largest market for Scotch whisky exports was the US, with rising US sales of 14.2%. Scotch exports to Spain rose for the first time in 10 years. 

‘Record year’

“Scotch also had a record year in India, with shipments growing 13.8% to £96.5M,” Kuebler said. “India is the largest consumer of whisky in the world, but Scotch has hitherto only represented a fraction of this market, which is dominated by domestically-produced brands.”

Meanwhile, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) signed a deal with Brazilian spirit maker Cachaça in December, to promote responsible alcoholic drinking. The deal would help Scotch whisky sales return to growth in Brazil, following a period of recession, the SWA claimed.

Scotch whisky sales to Brazil fell by £55M in 2016. Volume of Scotch exported to Brazil also dropped by 8%, to 12M litres.

Scotch whisky 2016 export sales – at a glance
  • £3.98bn in total export sales last year
  • Single malt sales increased 9.6%
  • Industry benefitted from Brexit vote and growing demand

Related News

Food and drink firms were recognised for their export success

Food and drink firms make top 100 exporters list

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget is a ‘major blow’ to the drinks industry. Image: Flickr user See Li

Drinks industry slams Spring Budget

Mars global president expected price rises in a WTO trade scenario

Mars warns of supply chain job cuts under WTO rules

Fentimans would set up a manufacturing plant in continental Europe to avoid any tariffed trade barriers (Flickr/Cheeseslave)

Fentimans to set up EU factory if UK trade deal fails

Celebrating Scottish food and drink export success are (L to R) Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland and Laurent Vernet, head of marketing, Quality Meat Scotland. See full line up in the article

Scottish food and drink exports reach record £5.5bn

Whisky workers are seeking answers from EU officials over the security of their jobs, after the UK quits the EU

Whisky workers seek Brexit job reassurance

The food industry calls for stability ahead of Theresa May triggering Article 50

Food sector reveals core aims in Brexit trade talks

A new five-point plan from the FDF hoped to boost British exports

New five-step exports plan designed to boost overseas sales

Food and drink exports reached record high levels in the first quarter of 2017

Food and drink exports hit record levels

A new £17M whisky distillery will create 30 jobs in Inverclyde

New £17M distillery to create 30 jobs

Gove: ‘Provenance matters because our future does not lie in a pile it high sell it cheap race to the bottom’

Provenance key to food exports, claims Michael Gove

Scotch whisky exporters want import tariffs reduced in any future trade deal with India

Scotch whisky sector calls for a trade deal with India

The UK has secured a £34M beef export deal with the Philippines

UK secures £34M beef export deal with Philippines

Government must protect existing export opportunities and help open up new ones

Food exports: ‘government must do more to help’

British deputy ambassador Wasim Mir (left) watches on as Brazilian Institute of Cachaça president Mucio Carlos Lins Fernandes (centre) and Scotch Whisky Association global affairs director Sarah Dickson celebrate the new deal

Scotch whisky in Brazilian spirit promotion deal

Scotch whisky exports will rely on free trade deals after Brexit

Whisky exports need to be secured post Brexit: SWA

Hard to swallow: the SWA is appealing the ruling on minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland

Scotch whisky to appeal on alcohol pricing

Scotch whisky exports were on the rise for the first time in three years: SWA

Scotch whisky exports growth is first for three years

A bottle of whisky worth £12,000 was stolen over the weekend

Whisky worth £14k stolen from distillery

Whisky distillery investment created up to 20 jobs

Jobs created through £881k whisky investment

Chivas Brothers plans to relocate its Paisley, Scotland, operations to Dumbarton. Image courtesy of Thomas Nugent

Questions over 450 whisky jobs, says union

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.