The State of Scotch: 2023 Global Export Figures at £5.6 Billion from Scotland

The State of Scotch: 2023 Global Export Figures at £5.6 Billion from Scotland

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) recently unveiled its export data for 2023, painting a picture of the industry's resilience and adaptability amid a turbulent global landscape. Despite facing challenges, Scotch whisky continues to hold its ground as a premier spirit globally. 

Let's delve into the numbers and explore the trends shaping the Scotch whisky market.

The 2023 Export Figures

In 2023, Scotch whisky exports reached a value of £5.6 billion, equivalent to 1.35 billion 70cl bottles. This translates to a staggering 43 bottles exported per second. 

While these figures represent a decrease compared to 2022, they also mark a significant increase over pre-pandemic levels, with a 14% rise in value and a 3% increase in volume since 2019.

Challenges and Opportunities

The industry faced a mix of challenges and opportunities in 2023. Despite a "bumper" year in 2022 due to global market reopenings post-pandemic and the resurgence of travel retail, 2023 provided a more normalised perspective on Scotch whisky exports. 

The biggest opportunity this year was seen in single-malt Scotch whisky. For the first time, it exceeded £2 billion in value (36% of the total), despite being only 11.5% of the total volume of sales. 

Whisky bosses cautioned that significant challenges, both domestically and in key markets, threatened to impede future growth without adequate government support.

Market Dynamics

Asia-Pacific remained a powerhouse market for Scotch whisky, with notable growth in China, Singapore, and Taiwan. The premiumisation trend continued to drive demand, especially for single-malt Scotch whisky, signalling evolving consumer preferences in these regions.

Europe retained its significance as a key export destination, with France leading in volume sales. However, India's market saw a decline amidst ongoing trade negotiations, highlighting the importance of favourable trade agreements in sustaining export growth.

The United States, historically the largest market for Scotch whisky, experienced a dip in exports attributed to economic conditions and rising living costs for consumers. Nonetheless, the industry anticipates a rebound in the coming years, albeit with concerns regarding tariff policies.

Future Outlook

Looking ahead, the industry remains cautiously optimistic about future growth prospects. With global economic uncertainties and evolving consumer behaviours, continued government support, including tariff-free trade agreements and reduced spirits duty, is deemed crucial for sustained export growth.

Compared to other industries whisky had an excellent year in 2023, however, the high standards the industry set for itself in 2022 and 2021 show the year was a disappointment. Experts are excited for the years ahead and foresee incredible growth. 

UKV International AG is willing to invest in this growth with a new storage facility opening in 2024 and a recently announced investment fund

We believe that whisky will continue to grow and our client's investment portfolios will grow with it. 

Contact our whisky experts to discuss the future of whisky and how you can be part of that journey.