Whiskey Exports Down But Single Malt Sales Up

Mixed figures revealed that Scotch whisky exports dropped by a considerable nine-and-a-half percent in 2023, although the revenue generated via single malt sales was up.

Following a bumper 2022, figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) revealed that overall exports fell by almost a tenth to £5.6bn, as demand from shops and bars eased following the pandemic.

Despite the dip, the figures are still seen as strong, with revenue still 14 percent higher than it was pre-pandemic. In truth, 2022 was seen as an anomaly, and Mark Kent, Chief Executive of the SWA, is pleased with the data.

“Scotch whisky has once again shown its export strength despite significant challenges across a volatile global trading environment,” he said.

“The figures demonstrate that Scotch whisky brands and distilleries are investing in their teams, their tourism offering, their long-term sustainability and their global presence to ensure that Scotch continues to be the world’s favourite whisky.”

Single Malt Increases

In more positive news, exports of single malt surpassed the £2bn mark for the first time last year. This was largely thanks to an increase in premium spirits sales in emerging markets in the Far East.

With this in mind, the numbers showed that higher-end whisky is propelling the market, with many Scotch fans around the world swapping cheaper brands in favour of premium bottles.

The United States is still the biggest market for Scotch whisky by value, despite the fact sales decreased by seven percent to £978m. The US is followed by France, which dropped by three percent to £474m, with Singapore in third, which bucked the trend by climbing 19 percent to £378m.

Singapore is a key distribution hub for the wider Asia-Pacific region, which explains why sales are up in the city-state.

Mr Kent believes that with some additional support from the government, the whisky industry could go from strength to strength.

“We need to see more tangible support from the government both at home and in our priority markets in order to continue to grow our export numbers, and the resultant investment, employment and economic benefits that come with that.

“A cut to spirits duty in the Spring Budget would be a step in the right direction, giving the industry platform at home to push forward with international growth. 

“Government must also do away with any notion of restricting the marketing of Scotch Whisky in Scotland, which would have a significant and lasting impact on the industry’s ability to generate future growth.”

For anyone interested in whisky cask ownership, these will be intriguing figures as it’s clear that one section of the market, single malts, is growing at a quicker rate. Having said that, the entire export market is showing promise, so regardless of which type of whisky you’re investing in, the future looks bright.