Scotch whisky market enjoys 'golden period' with 1.3% pa growth

A new report reveals that the market for Scotch whisky has prospered over the last decade, enjoying a "golden period" despite the global economic crisis.

Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve to auction
While stocks have been on the rocks in recent years, whisky has remained resilient

The International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR) report demonstrates that the global Scotch industry has posted a compound growth rate of 1.3% pa between 2002 and 2011, with shipments of nine-litre cases increasing from 21.5m to 93.3m.

Volumes rose by 3.9% in 2011, as the economic downturn sank to its lowest point. In fact, 2011 was one of the strongest years for whisky of the decade, with the "premium and above" Scotch category expanding by 7.7%. Sales in this sector grew from $1.9bn year-on-year to $13.1bn between 2002 and 2011, an indication of the investment potential of the finest whisky.

The market looks to have continued this strength in 2012; in the 12 months to June 2012, exports increased in value by an impressive 12%.

This superb growth is bolstered by continued interest from the US (which is predicted to expand further) as well as new buyers from the BRIC nations, such as Russian and Brazil. Forecasts suggest that, by 2016, Russia will be the third largest importer of Scotch whisky while Brazil will have increased its consumption to 66m bottles.

France is expected to take the top spot as the world's largest importer at 174m bottles by 2016, closely followed by the US.

"While consumption of whisky in the UK is falling, exports are booming. The emerging countries with a growing middle class are keen to discover and drink Scotch," Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo, who commissioned the report, told the Drinks Business.

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