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Whisky sales to China

20/03/2006

Exports of Scotch Whisky to China increased by 84 per cent in 2005, First Minister Jack McConnell announced today at a Scotch Whisky Association reception in Beijing.

The new whisky export figures for China show that 2005 was a record year with the equivalent of 20 million bottles, valued at £46 million, being exported to China, making it the 15th largest world market by value.

The China figures have been published in advance of the full global export figures due out later this week.

In Beijing Mr McConnell said:

"These new figures show that the popularity of Scotch Whisky among Chinese drinkers continues to grow. This is great news for our industry. China and Scotland are both nations with a proud distilling history and it is a high praise that sales of Scotland's national drink continue to soar in China.

"Rising sales show that Scottish Whisky continues to be a high quality product, recognised and enjoyed the world over.

"The food and drink sector is vitally important to Scotland's wider economic ambitions. Places like China offer huge potential for Scottish companies with world class products. We want to see our share of this market continue to grow.

"That is why I increased our SDI team in China following my last visit. Already we have helped 87 Scottish firms working in China, a 74 per cent increase on last year. Many of these are from the food and drink sector. They recognise the importance of China. I do too. That is why I am here today to lend my personal backing and to team up with the whisky industry in Bejing to promote Scotland and Scotch.

Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of The Scotch Whisky Association, said:

"Scotch Whisky is an ambassador for our country in new emerging markets such as China, where we continue to see an exciting growth in exports. We are here in Beijing, working with our member companies, to grow awareness among Chinese consumers about what makes Scotch Whisky so special."

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Background

In 2004:

  • Whisky exports generated £2.24 billion for the UK balance of trade
  • 9,800 directly employed (approx 40,000 plus indirectly) in the Scotch Whisky Industry-many in economically deprived areas
  • 200 markets worldwide (top 5 of USA, France, Spain, S Korea and Greece)
  • 30 bottles sold overseas each second
  • 88.4 million cases sold worldwide
  • Laid end to end they would stretch 16,807 miles (26, 891 kms) or three times the distance between Edinburgh and Shanghai