Growth stalls for whisky exports

bottling plant Sales were strong in the US and Russia but fell by nearly a quarter in Spain in the first half of 2012

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The rapid growth of Scotch whisky exports stalled in the first half of this year, according to new figures.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the value of trade stood at £1.8bn - the same as the first half of 2011.

There was a 13% boost in demand from the US, while sales were also up strongly to Russia and Venezuela.

But with the eurozone economy struggling, exports to Spain - the fifth biggest market for Scotch - fell by 24%.

An increase in alcohol taxes in France, the second biggest market, helped to explain a 14% drop there.

Germany saw exports climb by 4% to £65m in the first six months of the year, while India saw an increase of 28% to £28m.

The total value of Scotch whisky exports grew over the full year to the end of June, rising by 12% to £4.2bn.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "Over the past year the value of Scotch Whisky exports has continued to increase and we're delighted to build on our outstanding success in 2011 with 12% growth in the last 12 months.

"While there has been a levelling off in the first half of this year, the industry remains confident about the future.

"Recent announcements of investments in new distilleries and the expansion of existing facilities demonstrate the level of confidence producers have in future growth opportunities."

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