Scotch whisky exports increased in value by 3.4% in the first half of the year, to £1.8 billion, boosted by the continuing growth in popularity of single malts across the globe, including the USA, the industry’s largest market.
The analysis of official HMRC figures published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) shows that consumers are continuing to buy more single malts, with exports up 7% to £479 million in the first six months of 2017.
Single malts now comprise more than one-quarter of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas.
This trend was clear in the USA, where total Scotch exports were up 8.6% to £388m and single malts jumped 14% to £123m.
Scotch exports to many other mature and emerging markets increased. There was a marked return to growth in China – up 45% to £27m as the country’s economy grows – and exports to Japan expanded 19%, to £43m.
The European Union remains the biggest regional destination for Scotch, with the value of exports up 4% to £559m, almost one-third of the total.
The volume of all whiskies shipped overseas was down 2% to 528m bottles, and this was in the context of relatively favourable exchange rates. The lower volume and higher value is partly a result of the shift to single malts.
Some markets declined in the face of continuing economic and political headwinds, such as Brazil, where the value of Scotch exports fell 20% to £22m.
“The value of Scotch Whisky exports was up more than 3% in the first half of this year to £1.8 billion, which is great news,” said Karen Betts, the SWA’s chief executive. “More and more consumers around the world are seeking out the fabulous range of single malts. It is good to see demand for Scotch increasing in a diverse range of mature and emerging markets around the world.”