Scotch Whisky, which has been exported all over the world for 150 years, is now being shipped to major emerging markets at a faster rate than ever before. (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).

UK’s Scotch whisky exports to India moved up 44.4 per cent to £56 million in the first half of 2018 when compared to the same period last year, according to the official HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Scotch Whisky, which has been exported all over the world for 150 years, is now being shipped to major emerging markets at a faster rate than ever before.

Exports to China in the first six months of 2018 were up 34.8 per cent, to £36.3m, said the latest official figures released.

Scotch Whisky exports from the UK to the rest of the globe climbed in the first half of 2018 to £1.97 billion, a 10.8 per cent rise in the value of exports year-on-year basis. The volume of exports climbed by 5.6 per cent to almost 558 million bottles.

“Scotch Whisky is a luxury spirit, crafted with care in Scotland, and enjoyed all over the world -in established markets like the EU and emerging markets like India and China. As the UK leaves the EU, the industry wants to continue to trade with the EU as easily as it has while being able to pursue growth opportunities globally,” said Karen Betts, SWA Chief Executive commenting on the latest figures.

“But in order to flourish overseas, the industry needs support at home. Competitive tax rates are crucial, enabling producers to start-up, scale-up and invest for growth, such that they continue to be the dynamic job-creators, employers, tax-generators and exporters that they are,” he added.

“Right now, £3 in every £4 spent on Scotch in the UK is collected in tax by HM Treasury. The industry believes this tax burden is too high and is more likely to stifle growth than nurture it. That is why we are calling on the Chancellor to freeze duty on Scotch Whisky in the Autumn Budget,” Betts concluded.

Meanwhile, single malts continue to grow in popularity, with exports up 14.4 per cent to £550m in the first six months of the current year over during the same period last year. Single malts now make up 28 per cent of the value of all Scotch shipped overseas.

Exports of blended Scotch Whisky grew too, rising 8.9 per cent to an export valuation of £1.26bn.

The US remains the largest export market by value at over £400m, with France largest by volume at almost 90 million bottles. The European Union remains the biggest regional destination for Scotch, accounting for 39 per cent of the volume of Scotch Whisky exports and 31 per cent of their value.

The export figures underscore the importance to the Scotch Whisky industry of the UK achieving a smooth exit from the EU and the real downsides of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which could have an impact on growth in this developed regional market.

The SWA has also warned that the industry needs support at home if Scotch Whisky is to sustain growth in the long term. With the UK Budget under two weeks away, the SWA is calling for a duty freeze on Scotch Whisky.

A freeze in duty will prove the UK government’s determination to champion the industry and back Scotch’s continuing export success story.