Scotch Whisky Exports on Road to Recovery in 2021

The value of whisky exports rose to £4.51bn in 2021. 

© Shutterstock


The value of whisky exports rose to £4.51bn in 2021. 

© Shutterstock

Positive signs of recovery

The value of Scotch whisky exports rose 19% to £4.51 billion in 2021 as the industry continued to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of 70cl bottles exported also grew by more than 20% to the equivalent of 1.38 billion.

Global consumption was driven by consumers in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, with value increases of 21% and 71%, respectively. Scotch whisky products also witnessed strong growth in emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and China.

Exports to the largest market by value – the United States – grew by 8% despite the 25% tariff on single malt Scotch in the first quarter of last year. But exports to the European Union also increased by 8% in the first year of the UK being outside the bloc after the Brexit transition period. 

Commenting on the figures, chief executive of the SWA Mark Kent said: “The global footprint of the industry in 2021 is a clear sign that the Scotch whisky industry is on the road to recovery...Value and volume are both up as consumers return to bars and restaurants, people return to travel and tourism, and we all return to a degree of normality after a period of enormous uncertainty for consumers and business.”

Top 10 export destinations

The largest export destinations for Scotch whisky (defined by value) in 2021 were:

USA:          £ 790m                 8.4% (£729m in 2020)

France:      £ 387m                 2.8% (£376m in 2020)

Taiwan:      £226m                 24.3% (£182m in 2020)

Singapore: £212m                 -14.3% (£247m in 2020)

China:        £198m                  84.9% (£107m in 2020)

Latvia:       £156m                 -11.8% (£176m in 2020)

Germany:   £148m                  6.4% (£139m in 2020)

India:        £146m                   42.9% (£102m in 2020)

Japan:       £133m                  16.2% (£114m in 2020)

Spain:       £118m                   7.9% (£109m in 2020)  

Regional data

Scotch whisky exports by global region (defined by value) were (% change vs 2020):

European Union:                              £1360m                                8.2% (30% of global exports)

Asia Pacific:                                      £1210m                                21.4% (27% of global exports)

North America:                                 £1000m                                11.2% (22% of global exports)

Central and South America:           £443m                                  70.7% (10% of global exports)

Middle East and N Africa:               £187m                                  55.0% (4% of global exports)

Africa:                                                £157m                                  14.6% (3% of global exports)

Western Europe (ex.EU):                 £98m                                     6.0% (2% of global exports)

Eastern Europe (ex.EU):                  £47m                                     33.8% (1% of global exports)