• Volume exports up 1.5%
  • Value exports slip
  • France drives growth

Scotch whisky distillers have claimed resilience to the economic downturn after export volumes crept up in the first nine months of 2009.

Scotch exports rose by 1.5% to 807m bottles for the nine months to the end of September, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said yesterday (8 December). The rise saw the industry claw back some ground on an 5% drop for the 12 months of 2008.
Industry leaders, including Diageo CEO Paul Walsh, hailed Scotch whisky's "resilience" at a drinks event in London last night.

But, Scotch exports by value slipped 3.5% to GBP2.11bn (US$3.4bn) for the nine months, indicating the industry faces its first decline for several years in 2009.

"After a tough first quarter, Scotch Whisky exports have performed well so far in 2009," said SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt.

"We look forward to a good last quarter with the important Christmas and New Year period now in full swing."

There is relief in the industry that Scotch has not proved as susceptible to the economic malaise as Cognac or Champagne, which have both seen double-digit declines this year.

It was French consumers who drove Scotch exports over the nine months, importing 16% and 9% more Scotch in value and volume respectively for the nine months.

Diageo CEO Walsh told industry representatives last night that Scotch brings in GBP97 per second to the UK economy.