Talisker whisky barrels on the Isle of Skye

Talisker whisky barrels on the Isle of Skye

Scotch whisky is worth GBP4bn (US$5.87bn) a year in added value to the Scottish economy, shows a study commissioned by The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Only gas and oil bring in more funds, with the Scotch industry spending in excess of GBP1.1bn annually on supplies produced domestically. Here, we take a closer look at the figures, based on 2008 numbers.

  • The economic impact of Scotch Whisky is larger than most key sectors supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. The economic impact of Scotch Whisky production generates 60% more (GVA) than Scotland’s creative industries (£2.4 billion) and is similar to tourism (GBP4bn) in terms of GVA.
  • Spending by Scotch Whisky producers on Scottish suppliers has markedly increased over the last decade, and producers are increasingly sourcing goods and services from Scottish suppliers. The latest survey shows over four fifths of operating costs are sourced from within Scotland helping create GBP1.1bn of demand for Scottish suppliers.
  • Scotch Whisky is among the most productive industries in Scotland, second only to oil and gas. Continued growth in overseas exports (over GBP3bn in 2008) and rising product values have provided a strong platform for industry growth. GVA per employee is just over GBP262,000, more than three times that of business and financial services in London and nearly six times as productive as the average Scottish worker.
  • Scotch Whisky production in Scotland has turnover approaching GBP4bn and employed over 10,000 workers. Of the GBP1.2bn operating costs, GBP1bn (81%) is spent on Scottish suppliers. Capital spending (investment) in 2008 was GBP355m of which nearly one third (30%), GBP108m, was spent on capital items made in Scotland.
  • Scotch Whisky production is a high value activity. The proportion of turnover accounted for by GVA is high relative to the rest of the Scottish economy. The Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) showed that in 1998 GVA accounted for 37.9% of turnover in the production of spirits in Scotland. The value added share of turnover had risen to 63.3% by 2007. The 2008 estimate was 68.4%, based on a survey of SWA members.

Click here to view the full report.