Scottish exports regain some of the value and volume lost in 2020
Scotch whiskey has recovered some of the ground it lost in 2020, with global exports of £4.51bn in 2021 – however, the value of exports still remains 8% below pre-pandemic levels.
According to the latest figures released by the Scotch Whiskey Association (SWA), the value of Scotch Whiskey exports rose 19% in value from last year’s figure to £4.51 billion, with volumes increasing also by 21% to reach the equivalent of 1.38 billion 75cl bottles. .
Although the value of Scotch Whiskey exports in 2021 was £705m higher than in 2020, it was still £403m lower than in 2019, a drop of 8%.
Meanwhile, export volume increased by the equivalent of 238 million 70cl bottles compared to 2020 to reach an overall total of 1.38 billion bottles, which is equivalent to 238 million bottles more than in 2020 and also up by 73 million bottles compared to 2019.
On average, 44 bottles of Scotch Whiskey are exported every second (compared to 36 bottles per second in 2020)
This year’s recovery comes after an extremely difficult year for the industry in 2020, which saw it lose a decade of growth in one year, due to the impact of Covid-19 and the closure of restaurants, coupled with uncertainty about US tariffs. and the need to adapt to new rules governing exports to the EU. This led to global Scotch whiskey exports in 2020 falling by more than £1.1bn (23%) to £3.8bn, on volumes down 13% to 1.14bn, their lowest level in a decade.
Growth in 2021 was driven in part by the Asia-Pacific and Latin America markets, which saw value growth of 21% and 71% respectively, the SWA said. Key emerging markets for Scotch included the BRICs, notably India which grew 42.9% in value, on volumes up 44.3% to 136 million (helping it overtake the US as Scotland’s second largest market by volume), reaching £146m, up from £102m in 2020. China also grew by 84.9% in value, to £198m, from 107 million in 2020. The value of exports to Japan also increased, up 16.2% to £133 million, on volumes up 25.9%.
The key US market – Scotch’s biggest market by value – grew 8.4% in 2021 to £790m, from £729m, despite the 25% tariff impact on single malt Scotch in the first quarter of 2021. Tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump was fired in March 2020, with the SWA believing it had been responsible for cutting £500m from exports over the course of six-month period, with export volume falling by 25% in the first three months.
Of the top ten export markets, only Singapore and Latvia saw their exports contract, down 14.3% and 11.8% respectively. Meanwhile, exports to the European Union have also increased by 8% in the first year since the UK left the Brexit transition period – although the volume of exports to France has edged down very slightly. decreased (0.1%), the value of exports increased by 2.8% to reach £387 million, with Germany and Spain growing by 6.4% and 7.9% respectively.
New SWA chief executive Mark Kent said the industry’s global footprint in 2021 was “a clear sign that the Scotch whiskey industry is on the road to recovery”, with consumers returning to the bars and restaurants, travel and tourism.
“The growth of Scotch Whiskey in global markets means more jobs and investment in Scotland and the UK supply chain. The industry has continued to invest in its production sites, tourist attractions and workforce to ensure that Scotch Whiskey remains at the heart of a dynamic international spirits market and attracts new consumers across the world.
However, he added that “this is not the time for complacency” and called on the government to support the industry.
“The industry continues to face global challenges including continued trade disruptions, rising supply chain costs and inflationary pressures, and there is undoubtedly some way to go before exports return to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.
“The UK and Scottish governments should do all they can to support the continued recovery of the industry by making the most of global opportunities, including the ongoing trade negotiations between the UK and India, ensuring the fairness of the UK rights system and investing in a more sustainable future as the industry strives to reach net zero by 2040.”
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