A Good Time To Be In The Scotch Whisky Trade

A Good Time To Be In The Scotch Whisky Trade

Despite the current global recession, Scotch whisky exports reached a record level last year as they exceeded £3bn for the second year in a row.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, malt and blended whisky sales volumes went up by 4% in 2009 with sales increasing in Brazil, France, South Africa, the United States and Venezuela. The increase occurred even after the year started slow due to retailers “destocking” in response to lowered consumer confidence.

At £3.13bn, the cash value of exports showed a 3% increase which sustained the industry even after sales were poor in the UK last year. Based on figures for the amount of whisky released from bonded warehouses, the SWA determined that domestic sales fell to 92m bottles, an 11% drop.

Whisky exports remained robust despite the overall numbers decrease for Scottish industries that rely heavily on export. Despite a late rally of 2.9% during the final quarter of last year, overall export numbers were down 10%. Hit hardest were furs, leathers, metals and textiles which fell by 24% to 17.4%.

Businesses in Scotland have been slower to recover from the recession than other locations in UK, so they are especially affected by the slow growth in exports.

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Many industries are failing to realize sustained recovery due in part to the return of VAT to 17.5%, an intense winter and a decrease in spending on the part of the Scottish government in various capital projects in the public sector. This is according to information put out by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

The SWA has repeated their demand for changes in the excise duty system following elections in the UK, citing the contrast between domestic and overseas sales. Since the start of 2008, duty charged on whisky has increased almost 22%. Their claim is that this amounts to discrimination when compared to the duty charged on wine and beer and they are pressing for beverage taxes to be based on alcohol content.

Paul Walsh, chairman of SWA, points out that the record exports delivered by the Scotch whisky distillers in spite of global economic downturn should be recognized in a positive way. The industry looks to the next government for support and continues to work to leverage their importance to the UK economy as a means to get equal access in export markets.

source : Why this could be the best time to invest in cask whisky

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