London: Growing demand from Scotch whisky lovers in India has driven global exports to a record high, according to the latest industry figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The spurt in Scotch exports to India has been recorded after the government abolished additional import duty on imported spirits last year.
Exports to India rose by 36% worth 33 million pounds.
The Scotch whisky industry believes India is one of the largest markets and exports to that country are set to rise exponentially due to the growth of the middle class.
The figures show that Scotch whisky exports earned 90 pounds every second for the UK balance of trade last year, with the value of shipments increasing by 14 % to reach a new record of 2.8 billion pounds.
The SWA revealed export volume was also at a historic high in 2007, growing 8 %, with the equivalent of 1,135 million bottles of Scotch whisky shipped overseas.
Bottled blended Scotch whisky exports broke the 2 billion barrier for the first time, with shipment value up 15% (to 2.22 billion pounds). Bottled malt exports also rose by 11 % in value (to 454 million pounds).
SWA Chairman Paul Walsh said: “This record export performance generating 90 pounds every second for the UK balance of trade underscores just how important Scotch whisky is to our economy.”
“This is all the more impressive given the economic difficulties encountered in certain markets during the second half of 2007 and demonstrates that Scotch Whisky’s international appeal can mitigate against individual market or regional fluctuations,’ Walsh added.
Exports to most regions increased over the year, with shipments to Central and South America (+4 % in value), Asia (+4.5 %), North America (+5.5 %) and the European Union (+27 %) all growing.
South Africa’s rapid rise into the industry’s top ten markets continued, with exports up a further 9 % in value (to 91 million pounds).
Direct shipments to Singapore were up 84 % (to 158 million pounds) making it the industry’s fourth largest market after US, Spain and France.
“Announcements of new capital investment of 400 million pounds across the industry last year were a public vote of confidence in Scotch whisky’s prospects and are good news for the wider economy,” Walsh said.
He added that distillers mainly based in Scotland were looking to the government to continue to work with them to support future international competitiveness, tackling barriers to market access overseas, while recognising the importance of a fair tax and regulatory environment within the UK.
The top ten export markets in 2007 by value are (in million pounds): USA 419.2, Spain 307.5, France 294.2, Singapore 158.1, South Korea 139.3, Greece 103.5, Germany 96.3, South Africa 90.9, Taiwan 81.8, Portugal 48.3.