By Rory Reynolds
EXPORTS of Scotch whisky rose to record levels despite the global recession last year.
The value of sales abroad rocketed to more than £3billion for the first time in 2009, despite fears that the industry would be hit by the economic downturn.
The Scotch Whisky Association’s yearly report found that sales in Venezuela had risen by 73 per cent while sales in Brazil rose by 44 per cent.
And demand for blended and single malt whisky rose steadily in the established markets of France and the United States by 13 per cent.
The demand in new markets like South America helped the industry to overcome declining sales in recession hit states like South Korea, where sales slumped by a quarter.
The report also found that firms in Scotland are now shipping abroad 130 million bottles more than they were 10 years ago, while exports have also risen by almost £1billion in shipment value since 2000, a huge 45 per cent increase,
Overall sales of blended whiskies like Famous Grouse and Ballantine’s Finest, which are most popular abroad, rose by £70million.
And shipments of popular single malt whiskies like world best-seller Glenmorangie and US leader Aberfeldy rose by £4million.
The association’s chief executive Gavin Hewitt said that while the industry has had success in the past year, whisky firms wanted to see changes that would support the industry after the general election.
He said: “As one of the UK’s leading manufactured exports, all political parties should recognise and support the Scotch whisky industry, both at home and abroad, during the next Parliament.
“A review of the UK excise duty system is long overdue; we want to see a domestic operating and fiscal environment that better supports our global competitiveness.”