Scotch exports are on the up

Scotch exports are on the up

Scotch whisky's home market has appeared immune to booming global demand for the spirit, with new figures showing the UK volumes for the category fell last year by 3%.

The number of 70cl bottles of Scotch released for sale in the UK fell to 87.5m in 2013 from 90m the year before, according to UK Customs figures released today (12 March). The drop comes after Scotch exports increased volumes in the first half of last year by 9%, and sales jumped by 11%.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) blamed the disappointing UK performance on high duties that now account for 79% of the price of an average bottle of Scotch in the country. The trade association called on the UK Government to scrap the duty escalator on wines and spirits that, it claims, has helped shrink the Scotch market by 15% since it was introduced in 2008.

David Frost, the SWA's chief executive, said: “It’s obviously disappointing to see this decline in Scotch whisky volumes in our domestic market. In next week’s Budget, the (UK chancellor George Osborne) has the perfect opportunity to support a vital Scottish industry. He should scrap the unfair alcohol duty escalator and freeze duty this year.”

Frost, a former UK ambassador to Denmark, has recently joined the SWA, replacing Gavin Hewitt in January.