Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 13:26 UK

'Record high' for whisky exports

Close up of whisky being poured
An industry body says export sales have reached a record high

Exports of Scotch whisky reached record levels last year, according to figures from an industry body.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the value of exports reached a new high of 2.8bn, earning 90 every second for the UK balance of trade.

The value of exports to India rose by 36% to 33m, while exports to the European Union went up by 27%.

The SWA said export volume was also up, with the equivalent of 1,135 million bottles of Scotch whisky exported.

SWA chairman, Paul Walsh, said the performance "underscores just how important Scotch Whisky is to our economy."

He added: "This is all the more impressive given the economic difficulties encountered in certain markets during the second half of 2007."

Top 10 export markets in 2007 by value

  • USA 419.2m
  • Spain 307.5m
  • France 294.2m
  • Singapore 158.1m
  • South Korea 139.3m
  • Greece 103.5m
  • Germany 96.3m
  • South Africa 90.9m
  • Taiwan 81.8m
  • Portugal 48.3m

The figures have been welcomed by the SNP.

Angus Robertson MP, whose Moray constituency contains more than half of all malt whisky production, described it as "tremendous news".

He added: "It is ironic that, while the rest of the world is boosting the industry, at home the UK Labour government is undermining the domestic sector by hiking tax rates on Scotland's premium product."

The SWA figures are derived from HM Revenue and Customs data and are based on individual company declarations of the export value and volume of shipments.

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