Whisky starts to regain strength after ‘devastating’ 2020


Scotch whisky exports are starting to recover from the “turbulence” of last year but are yet to return to pre-Covid levels.

Although export values rose year-on-year by 31 per cent, they are down by a tenth since 2019.

Whisky sent over to the US is suffering the aftershock of a 25 per cent tariff imposed by then-president Donald Trump almost two years ago.

The duty was suspended in March this year, but exports are still down by a third compared to 2019.

READ MORE: Whisky industry predicts “boost” from Australia deal

Sources believe that the US market, still the biggest Scotch whisky buyer, will need time and investment to rebuild after a “devastating” 16 months.

Of the top ten whisky markets, sales to France, Singapore, India, Japan and Germany have all plummeted since 2019.

However, exports to Taiwan, Latvia and Mexico have increased.

Whisky sold to China, where there is a five per cent tariff, has more than doubled over two years to £91 million.

It is now the industry’s fourth-largest market.

Scotch Whisky Association boss Karen Betts called the recovery “very promising” but noted there was a long way to go.

“Companies are feeling the ongoing impacts of trade disruption on our supply chain,” she said.

“Our industry will need support to recover fully from the turbulence and lost exports of the last couple of years.”

Betts also argued that the government should negotiate a reduction of India’s 150 per cent whisky tariff as a “top priority”.

Two months ago, Boris Johnson hailed “global Britain at its best” after announcing an agreement to scrap Australia’s 5 per cent duty on whisky.

Australia bought £113 million of Scotch last year.

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