Whisky Exports Jump 13% To Reach Nearly £10b

Overseas whisky sales jumped 13 percent to £9.4b to help give the UK’s food and drink export a much-needed boost.

Chartered accountant and business advisor Hazelwoods revealed the news with its report which looked at export data to 31st July, 2023.

The report revealed that some perishable items such as beer and food items were down, largely due to the red tape involved with exporting to the EU. Sadly, many manufacturers simply believe selling overseas no longer makes sense.

But the industry was buoyed by the spike in scotch whisky sales that’s being driven by increased demand from Spain, France, Germany and Poland, with £1.6b being sold to EU countries alone.

“British heritage brands have successfully placed themselves as a luxury in the international drinks market,” said Rebecca Copping, associate partner at Hazelwoods. “A large chunk of this success is due to young, wealthy consumers purchasing quality drinks brands that signify status and success.

“Despite volatility in the economy and high interest rates around much of the globe, consumer spend on luxury goods has held up well, although sales growth of luxury goods is slowing. This post-COVID boom in luxury goods sales certainly had a hand in increasing UK drinks exports.”

Looking Further Afield

Although much of the whisky export is being enjoyed by our neighbours in the EU, much of it ends up in the U.S and the Far East, where patrons have been developing quite the appetite for luxury spirits in recent years.

India is another major market, although a lot will depend on whether a free trade deal can be struck between the two. Currently, India has a 150 percent tariff on UK whisky, making it unaffordable for many of the country’s drinkers. 

However, if this is lifted, this could boost sake considerably. With all this considered, Copping believes there is still scope for major growth, especially as there are still some markets that are yet to be tested.

“Now the industry is focused on long term growth, reaching bigger, untapped markets,” she added.

“The UK Government can support that by delivering trade agreements that lower barriers to expansion While whisky is playing a huge role in the export increase, this is also a success story for UK drinks brands that focus on gin and other spirits. It’s the heritage image and luxury branding that draws in a lot of consumers, especially those in growing markets like India and Singapore.”

With all this considered, these are exciting times for whisky. So if you’re involved in the industry in any way, it would appear that good times are ahead!