By Richard Thomas
According to a report by the BBC, exports of single malt Scotch whisky crossed the £1 billion mark for the first time in 2016, rising from £914m in 2015 to £1.02bn.
Although single malts are the central focus for serious Scotch enthusiasts, it’s the big blends that account for most of both the volume and value of the Scotch business. The Glenlivet and The Glenfiddich are the two biggest brands in the sector, shipping more than one million cases per year, but neither does enough business to even rank at the bottom of the Top 10 Scotch brands.
However, single malt sales generally held steady or continued to grow even as the market for Scotch generally slumped during the last few years. Now the single malt sector accounts about a tenth of the volume and over a quarter of the value of overall Scotch exports.
The export market is not just key, but the only key for the Scotch industry. Compared to the American Bourbon industry, which sells most of its products in its home market, Scotch whisky exports comprise 93% of all sales for the industry. The domestic, UK market is merely middling one in the Scotch business.