Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Whisky exports show 'resilience'

whisky generic
The number of bottles exported to Spain dropped by 26%

The amount of Scotch whisky exported during the first nine months of this year reached 807 million bottles - an increase of 1.5%.

However, the value of these shipments dropped by 3.5% to £2.11bn, compared with 2008.

France remained the industry's biggest export market and increased the number of bottles it imported by 9%.

The Scotch Whisky Association said despite weak economic conditions the industry remained confident.

Gavin Hewitt, the chief executive of the association, said: "Distillers have been resilient through the recession, investing for future opportunities and underscoring Scotch Whisky's increasing importance to the domestic economy."

Scotch whisky shipments abroad account for 20% of Scotland's manufactured exports.

The Scotch Whisky Association said the international spread of these markets helped to mitigate the impact of weaker economic conditions in certain countries.

Venezuela value

The volume of sales to Venezuela increased by 94% with the country importing 37 million bottles.

Imported Scotch outsells local rums and other liquors in Venezuela by a ratio of almost two-to-one, making it the sixth biggest market worldwide.

Venezuelans often claim to drink more Scotch than the Scots.

Brazil also saw a large increase in the volume of exports, up 70%.

Shipment value to the United States, Spain and South Korea was lower.

Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead described the figures as "impressive" during the recession and said the government was determined to build on the success.

He added: "New regulations recently came into force that give our iconic Scotch whisky greater protection against cheap imitations and we are working through our enterprise agencies across the world to realise the massive economic potential of the industry."

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