• Exports could hit record for fifth straight year
  • Shipments reached GBP2.8bn in first ten months
  • India to be key focus for 2011
UK deputy PM Nick Clegg with Chivas Brothers CEO Christian Porta at Strathisla Distillery

UK deputy PM Nick Clegg with Chivas Brothers CEO Christian Porta at Strathisla Distillery

Scotch whisky distillers are on-track to set a new export record for the fifth year in a row, according to the Scotch Whisky Association and the UK Government.

Scotch exports rose by 12% for the first ten months of 2010, compared to the same period of 2009. Exports reached GBP2.8bn (US$4.5m) for the period, surpassing the total for the whole of 2007, and are forecast to set a new record for the full 12 months.

Exports will have to top GBP3.13bn to achieve that. If they do, it will be the fifth consecutive record-breaking year Scotch exports in value terms. The emerging markets of China and India have been targeted by Scotch producers in recent years.

During a visit to Pernod Ricard's Strathisla distillery yesterday (20 January), the UK's deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said: "The dynamic Scotch whisky companies are making great strides to exploit new markets and new opportunities and the UK Government will continue to do whatever we can to assist them," he said.

He added that, following China's decision to grant Scotch whisky trademark protection, India will be a key focus. "I know from my talks in Scotland today that fair market access and tariff liberalisation in relation to India is a major priority in 2011," said Clegg.

The Scotch Whisky Association's (SWA) CEO, Gavin Hewitt, said: "Scotch Whisky represents a quarter of all British food and drink exports and makes a significant contribution to the UK balance of trade." He said that securing greater access to export markets is "vital".

Scotch exports to Russia more than doubled in the first ten months of 2010, to GBP27m, while exports to India and China increased by 65% and 46% respectively, off relatively low bases.