Surge in overseas sales
Beer and whisky help drive Scotland to exports record
Dougal Sharp at Innis & Gunn’s bar and brewery in Glasgow. Overseas sales are booming
Beer and whisky have helped Scottish exports grow at a faster rate than any other UK nation or English region.
Goods sold overseas were up 12.9% in the 2018/19 financial year to a record high of £32.8 billion, meanig Scotland has now recorded three consecutive financial years of export growth.
Strategists and policy makers will be particularly buoyed by data showing that more Scottish businesses are exporting goods than ever before. In the first quarter of 2019, 4,950 Scottish businesses exported abroad, 229 more than the same period in the previous year.
The surge in Scottish goods exports was largely driven by mineral fuels, which increased in value by 36.3% to £12.5bn. Scotch Whisky was the main contributor to drinks exports which increased by 7% to £4.4bn, while beer sales were aided by companies such as Innis & Gunn.
The Scottish Government preferred to focus on the 18.6% (£2.7bn) rise in exports to the EU to £17.4bn, arguing that this confirmed the importance of the UK dropping its planned exit from the bloc. Total UK exports to the EU increased by 4.4%.
Both sides of the Brexit debate took satisfaction from the figures. International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox, a Leaver, said: “I am delighted that goods exports from Scotland have boasted particularly impressive growth rates over the past financial year, which is a consequence of the outstanding quality of produce and resilience of businesses across the region.”
Scottish Trade Minister Ivan McKee said: “These are very positive figures and show the importance of having free trade with the EU.
“These latest figures demonstrate the significance of the EU to Scotland’s international exports, highlighting the importance of the single market and customs union, which is eight times bigger in population terms than the UK market alone.”
One UK brewer experiencing global success is Innis and Gunn which in 2017 achieved its 14th consecutive year of double digit-volume growth and sold 2.5m cases of beer in over 35 countries including China and Australia.
A spokesman for Innis and Gunn, said: “The Department for International Trade has been extremely valuable in engaging us with international partners and helped organise visits to Asian markets to expand our reach to prosperous destinations such as China.
“Now that exports represent 50% of our total value of sales, we want to get as much great beer into as many hands as possible, and have exciting growth plans for Spain, Italy and Asia, in 2019 and beyond.”