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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Whisky bosses bullish over exports
Whisky bottles
More than 2bn bottles were sold worldwide
Soaring Spanish sales have helped exports of Scotch whisky to reach record levels, according to new figures.

The Scotch Whisky Association says that worldwide exports rose by 3% last year to more than 2bn.

And Spain is the largest consumer, with a market worth 304m.

Exports rose by 20% to nearly 159m bottles, representing a 5% increase in the value of the sales.

Worldwide demand for Scotch whisky is undiminished and growing

Scotch Whisky Association chairman Ian Good
The Scotch Whisky Association said Spain took over from the United States as the most valuable export market in 1999, and also became the top market by volume last year.

Over the last 10 years, the amount of Scotch exported to Spain has increased by 137% and its value has grown by 94%.

The association also said that Scotch now outsells ouzo in Greece, where volumes increased by 16% - although their value fell by 3%.

Total worldwide exports rose by 4% in volume and 3% in value to 989.5m bottles, worth 2.15bn.

Describing the figures as "extremely positive", association chairman Ian Good said: "The 4% increase in volume proves that worldwide demand for Scotch whisky is undiminished and growing.

Whisky being bottled
Spain is the biggest export market
"The modest rise in value reflects the competitive market in which the industry is operating - in particular the weakness of the euro and the impact this has had on an industry that sends 40% of its exports to other EU member states."

European Union export volumes rose by 6% to 447m bottles, while value rose by only 1% to 860m.

Off-the-shelf consumer sales held steady in the UK, while growth was also "steady" in eastern Europe.

There was also a 5% increase in the volume of exports to Asia, where the value of sales leapt by 17% to 62.5m.

The economic upturn in South Korea saw a 25% rise in shipments and a 41% increase in value, but Japan remained "shaky", with volumes down 22%.

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