Scotch Whisky industry looks for continued growth through Brexit
03 May 2018
The Scotch Whisky industry's recent growth must be maintained
beyond Brexit, delegates at the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)
conference heard today.
The annual gathering in Edinburgh heard speeches from SWA Chief
Executive Karen Betts as well as Deputy First Minister John
Swinney. Scotch Whisky is the UK's largest food and drink export,
accounting for 20% of all food and drink exports.
Last year, 39 bottles per second were shipped overseas totalling
an export value of £4.37bn.
Speaking after the Conference, SWA Chief Executive Karen Betts
said: "Scotch Whisky is a world-class product
with world-wide reach.
"Scotch Whisky is doing well, with exports growing and new
investment going into all aspects of the industry. In the twelve
months since our last conference, 7 new Scotch Whisky distilleries
have opened and, over the last 5 years, more than half a billion
pounds has been invested in the industry, in everything from
distilling to tourism. This is great news for growth in our sector
and for the jobs and communities that the industry supports.
"But Brexit poses challenges for the industry, and is likely to
be disruptive. We want to continue to be able to export Scotch
Whisky to Europe and the rest of the world with a minimum
additional cost and complexity, and so our industry can emerge from
Brexit in growth.
"That means zero tariffs, a minimum of regulatory divergence and
legal protection in the EU. But it also means continued access to
the benefits of EU trade deals with third countries, including
South Korea and Colombia. We calculate the loss of these trade
benefits would cost the industry over £50 million annually in
"We continue to urge the UK government to swiftly put in place
agreements with those third countries so that Scotch can continue
to flourish there post-Brexit. And to work on advantageous trade
deals with our growth markets, such as India, China and Brazil to
ensure the sector continues to prosper."
First Minister John Swinney MSP said: "The
Scottish Government welcomes the hard work of the industry to
deliver an excellent performance in 2017 when Scotch exports were
valued at approximately £4.36 billion. The value of Scotch whisky
exports from the UK was up 9% from 2016 and Scotch Whisky accounted
for around 20 percent of all UK food and drink exports.
"Rightly there is a growing confidence within the sector, with
investments being made by established distilleries, as well as a
high number of new sites being built across the country. This is
great news for Scotland and as I go around the country, what
strikes me is the passion, and commitment of those that work in the
industry to produce and promote a high quality product that is made
unique by its location, and this is exactly what makes Scotch
Whisky so special.
"Whisky is a product shaped by its environment and while steeped
in tradition, the industry is not afraid to be dynamic and
innovative. I am confident that there is opportunity for further
growth and co-operation going forward, and that by working together
we can make sure that the right skills are in place to ensure that
the sector continues to go from strength to strength."