Financial Insights -
Scotch Whisky Export Report 2023
Scotch Whisky Export Report 2023
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) recently released the global export figures for 2023, demonstrating the industry's resilience and expansion.

Over the past year, Scotch exports reached an impressive value of £5.6 billion. This figure equates to around 1.35 billion 70cl bottles, or an astonishing 43 bottles per second.

Unpacking the Numbers: A Recap of 2023

Figures released on 15 February 2024 show a slight decrease from the exceptional exports of 2022, a “bumper” year as global markets recovered from the pandemic. The data from 2023 offers a more normalised perspective, showcasing robust growth compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Compared to 2019, Scotch Whisky exports saw a significant 14% increase in value, along with a 3% rise in volume. For the first time, exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky surpassed £2 billion.

Despite these positive trends, industry leaders warn against ignoring the substantial challenges faced in 2023, both domestically and in key markets. They emphasise the need for tangible government support to maintain long-term growth.

Global Market Dynamics: Asia-Pacific Continues to Lead

In 2023, Asia-Pacific maintained its position as the largest regional market for Scotch Whisky in terms of value.

Notably, value exports to China saw a record surge of 165% compared to 2019.

Singapore (19%) and Taiwan (8%) also contributed to the region’s dominance. The trend of premiumisation continues to drive Scotch Whisky’s popularity, especially the growing preference for single malt Scotch Whisky in China and Singapore, which witnessed double-digit growth from 2022.

Europe's Role and Challenges in Key Markets

Europe remained a crucial export region for Scotch Whisky, with France reclaiming its status as the industry’s biggest volume market. This occurred after India temporarily assumed this position in 2022. However, India faced challenges due to a decrease in both volume and value, which was caused by the continuing UK-India Free Trade Agreement discussions and demands for tariff reductions on Scotch imports.


India had an export value of £278m in 2023. This represents a decline of 22% from 2022, but it’s a 31% increase compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic). The country imported the equivalent of 167m bottles of Scotch Whisky in 2023, down by 24% from 2022, yet up by 27% from 2019.

US Market Insights

Historically the largest market for Scotch Whisky, the United States saw a 7% drop in sector-wide exports compared to 2022 and an 8.5% decline compared to 2019, totalling £978 million. Industry experts believe this is due to global economic conditions and increased living costs for US consumers. Despite expectations of a realignment in 2024, the SWA highlights the midpoint of the five-year removal of 2019-imposed tariffs on single malt Scotch Whisky. They urge the UK government to maintain efforts in negotiating tariff-free trade with the US.

Economic Impact and the Industry's Contribution

The release of these export figures coincides with the industry’s latest economic impact report, which emphasises the substantial contribution of the Scotch Whisky sector to the UK economy. It contributes annually £7.1 billion and supports 66,000 nationwide jobs.

The industry’s navigation through various challenges and victories underscores its need for continuous support, both locally and globally, to maintain steady growth and international prominence.

“Scotch Whisky has once again shown its export strength despite significant challenges across a volatile global trading environment. The figures demonstrate that Scotch Whisky brands and distilleries are investing in their teams, their tourism offering, their long-term sustainability and their global presence to ensure that Scotch continues to be the world’s favourite whisky. “ – Mark Kent, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association

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