The Scotch whisky sector has not only survived the global downturn, it has prospered, a recently-published just-drinks/IWSR report has concluded.

Dubbing the last decade a "golden period" for Scotch whisky, the just-drinks/IWSR 'Global market review of blended and single malt Scotch whisky – forecasts to 2017' report finds that, between 2002 and 2011, the global Scotch industry recorded a compound annual growth rate of 1.3%, with overall shipments rising by 21.5m nine-litre cases to 93.26m cases. Moreover, in the depths of the downturn in 2011, volumes rose by 3.9%.

In 2011, the premium-and-above Scotch whisky category grew by 7.7%, from 23m cases in 2010 to 24.8m cases, with value sales rising by almost US$1.9bn year-on-year to $13.1bn.

All indications are that the growth of the Scotch sector was maintained in 2012, the report continues. Exports in the 12 months to the end of June 2012 increased in value by 12%, with growth coming from the US, Venezuela and Germany, and in exports to Russia through the Baltic states. Asia remained steady with good growth in Taiwan, the report states. In the first half of 2012, exports to the US jumped by 13% to GBP303m and it remains the biggest market by value for Scotch. 

In 2011, some 17 of the top 25 Scotch whisky markets posted growth, according to IWSR. Scotch whisky boasts more than 19 1m-case markets, with a further ten countries recording sales in excess of 500,000 cases. Indeed, the report points out that Scotch's strong international profile has acted as a "natural hedge" for the sector during the global slump.