Sales rise

Whisky exports recover but still below pre-Covid level

whisky bottles

Whisky exports are rising

Scotch whisky exports in the first half of 2021 rose strongly compared to last year, though they remain below pre-pandemic levels.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the figures show signs of recovery following the impact of Covid-19 and US tariffs on single malts which were lifted earlier this year.  

The value of Scotch Whisky exports were up 31% compared to the same period last year, with volume up 42%.

However, exports remain down 10% by value against 2019, and the industry still has some way to go to recover lost growth and return to the record export figures of 2019. 

Exports of Scotch Whisky to the EU fell in the first three months of 2021 compared to 2019, as lockdowns on the continent continued and producers adjusted to new post-Brexit trading arrangements. 

Karen Betts SWA

Karen Betts: ‘very promising’ (pic: Terry Murden)

However, EU exports grew at a faster rate between April and June 2021 than in the same period of 2019. Exports to markets in Asia, which were quick to recover during the second half of 2020, continued to grow in the first half of 2021. For example, in the first half of this year, China has already surpassed the £89m exported in the whole of 2019 – growing 126% to £91m. 

The United States remains Scotch Whisky’s biggest export market by value, worth more than £1bn in 2019.

But the 25% tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which was implemented in October 2019, saw total exports fall to £729m in 2020, a drop of one third.

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