The Scotch whisky sector has seen a major increase in exports, suggesting the sector is starting to boom again as the pandemic eases and the effects of Trump-era tariffs in the US wear off.
New figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) revealed a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in the value of Scotch exports in 2021 compared with 2020, with the overall value totalling £4.51 billion.
Perhaps just as significantly, however, is the fact that this enhanced figure is still below the level of exports in 2019, which were eight per cent higher in value than in 2021. This could have significant implications for whisky investment, as it suggests investors buying cask whisky now could enjoy the fruits of further increases in global demand and associated rising value in the years to come.
SWA chief executive Mark Kent commented: “The global footprint of the industry in 2021 is a clear sign that the Scotch whisky industry is on the road to recovery.”
The SWA data showed that growth in 2021 was aided by an eight per cent increase in exports to the US, which is still the largest overseas customer. However, other regions are growing fast, up 71 per cent in Latin America and 31 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region, as sales soared in nations like Brazil, China and India.
Nor has Brexit held the UK back in enjoying increases in exports to the EU, with these increasing at the same rate as sales to America.
The challenge of growing popularity in Europe will be aided by maintaining a distinctive identity. This quest may have enjoyed a huge boost of its own this month after the SWA won a nine-year legal battle to stop a German distillery giving its whisky the name ‘Glen Buchenbach’, noting that the use of the word ‘Glen’ implies something specifically Scottish.
This is not the only legal identity battle the SWA has been fighting over the German whisky market. It is also seeking to stop Vancouver Island-based Scot Graeme Macaloney exporting his malt whiskies to the country using “Scottish sounding words” in their names, which could misleadingly imply that the products were distilled in Scotland rather than Canada.