Scotch Whisky – sustaining success in the UK and globally
27 Apr 2015
SWA members meet in Edinburgh
Companies from across the world of Scotch Whisky, one of the
country's most iconic and successful industries, met today (27
April) in Edinburgh to discuss a range of issues, including the
export environment and competitiveness.
Some 180 people gathered at the Scotch Whisky Association's
(SWA) annual Members' Day at the city's Sheraton Hotel to hear addresses from David
Frost, SWA chief executive and Pernod Ricard's Pierre Pringuet,
the Association's chairman.
The theme of this year's event was 'Scotch Whisky - sustaining
success in the UK and globally' to reflect the ever-more
competitive global marketplace in which the industry operates.
Scotch Whisky is vital to the UK economy - contributing around
£5 billion each year in value and supporting more than 40,000 jobs.
It makes up around 80% of Scottish food and drink exports and about
a quarter of the UK's.
Scotch exports were worth £3.95bn last year, down 7% on 2013,
but up 74% over the last decade. Long-term growth is therefore
strong, but weaker economic conditions and political volatility in
some markets had an impact.
Frost addressed the export situation today, saying: "Last year
was challenging for us in global markets, but our performance is
pretty impressive. The underlying picture is an encouraging
A panel session, facilitated by John McLellan, director Scottish
Newspaper Society and honorary professor of journalism at Stirling
University, discussed the export environment. One of the
conclusions was that Scotch Whisky is a beacon for other British
industries in opening up overseas markets.
In the second panel on competiveness it was said that
collaboration among Scottish industries, including food and drink,
is key for future success.
Addressing delegates on the day, Frost also said: "Last month
the Chancellor cut excise duty on Scotch Whisky by 2%. This was the
first cut since 1996 and only the fifth ever since the 1823 Excise
Act. It is still iniquitous that 77% of the price of a typical
bottle of Scotch is taxation, but it is great to have a clear
signal of support from our government."
On industry expansion, Frost explained: "We are continuing to
grow. There are huge investment flows from established producers.
Last year six new distilleries saw spirit flow for the first time
and we've already seen another this year. We are aware of 30 or
more projects for new distilleries. We haven't seen anything like
this for many years."
The SWA's chairman Pierre Pringuet said: "As the first French
person to hold the position of SWA chairman, I am delighted to say
the 'auld alliance' between Scotland and France is as strong as
Sir Simon Fraser KCMG, Permanent Under-Secretary, Foreign &
Commonwealth, delivered the keynote speech as the start of the day
on economic growth and prosperity.
To coincide with Members' Day, the SWA published its latest
Annual Review and Legal Report: these can be downloaded below.
For more information please contact Rosemary Gallagher, SWA head
of communications, 0131 222 9230 or 07432 605385 or email
Today's panel session the export environment comprised:
Martin Bell, Acting Director, Global Affairs, Scotch Whisky
Paul Lewis, Managing Director, International Operations, Scottish
Ross Martin, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Development
Carl Paraskevas, Senior Economist, Lloyds Banking
Ian Shackleton, Managing Director, Nomura
Fraser Thornton, Managing Director, Burn Stewart Distillers
The panel session on competitiveness comprised:
Julie Hesketh-Laird, Deputy Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky
Bill Jamieson, Co- Editor, Scot-Buzz
Brad Mackay, Director of Engagement, University of Edinburgh
Peter Nelson, Operations Director, Glenmorangie
Frank Strang, Deputy Director Drink & Rural Communities
Division, Scottish Government
James Withers, Chief Executive, Scotland Food & Drink