Scotch whiskey industry worth over £5 billion: Report

28 Jan 2015


A new report has estimated the worth of the the UK's whisky industry at over £5 billion reported. The industry directly employed 10,900 people in distilleries and manufacturing, and supported around 30,000 other jobs through its supply chain, according to the research of Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Even as a slowdown hit exports, billions of bottles of whisky are being sold across the world every year.

The industry accounted for about 75 per cent of Scotland's food and drink exports, and nearly a quarter of the UK total.

The worth of exports of the drink to the US came in at almost £820 million alone in 2013, a record high. The research was carried out by 4-consulting for the SWA, which wants to see excise duty cut in the budget to make whisky cheaper.

According to the report, the direct impact of the whisky industry to the economy was £3.3 billion, with a further £1.8 billion spent on suppliers to the industry each year through drying goods, bottles and packaging, energy, transport and distribution.

Given the rural location of many distilleries, the report highlighted the role of the industry as a major employers outside traditional town and city centres.

Meanwhile, a report in underlined the huge financial significance south of the border, with the whisky industry larger than other UK food and drink sectors, including meat, dairy, beer and soft drinks.

The industry supported 40,300 jobs in the UK, up from around 35,000 in 2008 across a range of sectors including glass manufacturing and labeling, which included 10,900 people directly employed by the industry in Scotland, up 6 per cent.

According to the consultants who conducted the study, every job in Scotch whisky supported a further 2.7 British jobs.

The SWA was lobbying for a 2 per cent cut in duty on whisky in the budget in March and it was hoped that by highlighting its UK-wide importance and potential, the chancellor might see the industry worthy of increased support.

Meanwhile, according to David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, the new report showed just how significant the Scotch whisky industry was to the wider UK economy, adding £5 billion of value, supporting over 40,000 jobs, and contributing £4 billion to the UK's trade performance.

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