Scotch whisky exports soar by 22%
Emerging markets helped boost Scotch whisky exports by 22% in the first half of this year, according to new figures.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said global shipments between January and June reached £1.8bn, up from £1.47bn achieved during the same period in 2010.
The USA remained the top export market by value with shipments hitting £268m, an increase of about 14%.
The SWA also said growth in Asia and South America was "very strong".
Exports to Central and South America reached £214.4m in the first six months of the year - a 49% jump on the same period in 2010 - while shipments to Asia increased by 33% to £422.5m.
Taiwan is now a top five market for Scotch whisky, with shipments growing to £70m from £48m. Exports to Brazil rose by 56% to £44.8m.
The equivalent of about 569 million bottles was exported in the first six months, an increase of 19% to the end of June.
However, volume was up by less than 5% on an annualised basis between July 2010 and June 2011.
The SWA said that figure reflected the slowdown at the end of 2010 due to economic uncertainty, followed by a growth in confidence among producers bolstered by increased demand from emerging markets.
SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said Scotch whisky producers could be proud of their continuing success.
He said: "Scotch whisky is a main driver for the UK and Scottish economies in building export markets.
"We are making a strong contribution to the Scottish government's ambition of growing the country's exports by 50% by 2017.
"While traditional export markets remain important, we are making excellent headway in other regions. Consumer confidence is strong."
He added that a free trade agreement with South Korea and better legal protection for Scotch whisky in India and Turkey gave optimism for further growth.
India and Turkey are now among a growing number of countries which recognise Scotch as a product that can only be made in Scotland.
Welcoming the statistics, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "The news that whisky exports have rocketed by a quarter is absolutely phenomenal.
"Our whisky sector is an international success story and more and more discerning drinkers around the world are enjoying a dram and a little bit of Scotland.
"The food and drink industry is at the heart of Scotland's global reputation. And it is good to see that while the USA remains the top market, the emerging markets are booming too."