Let the good times roll for Scotch whisky

Let the good times roll for Scotch whisky

Thirst for Scotch whisky shows no sign of abating thanks to its new-found friends in Asia and Latin America.

Scotch whisky has underlined its credentials as a good traveller. Since the days of British Empire, Scotch has been riding the high seas. Today, backed by multinational drinks companies like Diageo and Pernod Ricard, Scotland's national drink has an even more impressive reach.

Brazil, Singapore and Taiwan stood out as global Scotch whisky exports leapt by 22% in value and 19% in volume in the first six months of 2011. There is no place for China in the top ten export destinations, but the Scotch Whisky Association believes that a significant amount of whisky first passes through other ports in Southeast Asia, before being shipped on to the up-an-coming superpower.

The gains are impressive and are not purely limited to Johnnie Walker and Chivas. There are a number of factors working in Scotch whisky's favour at present.

First, Scotch sits at the centre of several of the world's most powerful drinks companies. Diageo and Pernod Ricard are pouring marketing funds into emerging markets. Second, brown spirits are doing well in a number of markets that have not been hit so hard by recession, such as China and India. 

Third, thirst for premium spirits appears to be in relative good health worldwide, and the sector commands decent profits, when compared with beer and wine. It is not just emerging markets where this holds true: Scotch exports to the US rose by 14% in value and 8% in volume for the half-year.

Diageo's CEO Paul Walsh said at the company's full-year results conference last month that recession arrived at the door of premium spirits earlier than it did for other drinks. Subsequently, spirits have bounced back sooner. 

If follows, then, that the only obvious cloud on the horizon is the current swathe of economic uncertainty, both around the eurozone debt crisis and the US economy in general. If things go badly, Scotch might see its momenutm diluted. For now, though, the sun is beaming.