Exports of whisky to China have risen dramatically in the first half of this year, according to latest figures.
Whisky exports rose in the first half of this year
The Scotch Whisky Association said sales in the first six months of 2004 had topped those for the whole of 2003.
Whisky exports to China rose by 170% and accounted for £9.7m of the £982m total during that six-month period.
The overall figure was up by £20m on last year, with an extra 14 million bottles of the spirit leaving Scotland. Sales also rose in Russia and Brazil.
Ian Good, chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association, said that there had been a good start to 2004.
He said: "While Scotch can only be made in Scotland, it continues to appeal to a global audience.
"In the first half of 2004 we have seen a number of encouraging trends, with growth in established markets such as France and Spain complemented by rising exports to potentially important markets of the future such as China, Brazil and Russia.
"As these economies continue to develop, and a new generation of consumers aspire to try quality, international products, Scotch whisky should be well placed as it becomes more affordable and accessible."
Mr Good said it was encouraging to see that both malt and blended whisky exports were rising.