Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
The SWA says growth was seen in the US, Venezuela, Germany and in exports to Russia through the Baltic states in the first six months of this year.
There was good growth in Taiwan and Asia overall remained steady. This helped scotch exports maintain their value in the first half of 2012 at £1.8 billion, despite continuing pressure in some Eurozone countries and the after-effect of an increase of shipments to France last year ahead of a substantial tax rise.
Exports to the US in the first half of 2012 jumped by 13% to £303 million. It remains the biggest market by value for scotch.
Venezuela, the ninth biggest market for scotch, leapt 31% to £42m. In Europe, Germany saw exports increase 4% to £65m in the first six months of the year. Latvia and Estonia are now in the top 20 markets, reflecting a surge in demand in Russia.
India saw an increase of 28% to £28.3m and the SWA hopes that a conclusion can be reached on the European Union/India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of the year. The FTA would see a gradual reduction of the 150% tariff on imported spirits. Reduction in that tariff would allow India to fulfil its potential to be one of the biggest markets for scotch.
According to the SWA, scotch continues to attract younger, affluent consumers in newly emerging markets and this trend is expected to continue.
SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: “Over the past year the value of Scotch Whisky exports has continued to increase and we’re delighted to build on our outstanding success in 2011 with 12% growth in the last 12 months. While there has been a levelling off in the first half of this year, the industry remains confident about the future.
“Recent announcements of investments in new distilleries and the expansion of existing facilities demonstrate the level of confidence producers have in future growth opportunities,” said Hewitt.