Australia’s Scotch whisky imports continue to grow

17 February, 2020 by Andy Young

Australia’s Scotch whisky market is continuing to grow, with data from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) showing both value and volume of Scotch exports to Australia grew in 2019.

The SWA told TheShout that the value of Scotch whisky exports to Australia in 2019 grew by 2.4 per cent to £116.8m ($226.7m), while volumes were up 0.8 per cent to 31m 70cl bottles.

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Graeme Littlejohn, Director of Strategy and Communications at the Scotch Whisky Association told TheShout: “It is good to see further growth in Scotch whisky exports to Australia in 2019.

The market has increased by 30 per cent in the last five years, with more and more consumers discovering the quality and unique heritage of Scotland’s national drink.”

Overall Scotch enjoyed worldwide growth in 2019 with export data from UK Customs showing export values for Scotch whisky grew by 4.4 per cent to £4.91bn ($9.53bn) and Australia was on of 106 global markets that grew in 2019. Additionally the number of bottles exported also increased, growing to the equivalent of 1.31bn, a 2.4 per cent increase.

Export growth was driven in particular in Asia and Africa, with value increases of 9.8 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively.

Australia remains just outside the top 10 of global markets for Scotch in terms of value, but with Mexico (currently the 10th largest export destination by value) shrinking in value, that could change in 2020.

The top 10 Scotch export markets by value:

  1. USA: £ 1069m – +2.8 per cent on 2018
  2. France: £ 432m – -2.4 per cent on 2018
  3. Singapore: £300m – -6.3 per cent on 2018
  4. Taiwan: £205m – +22 per cent on 2018
  5. Germany: £184m – +5.6 per cent on 2018
  6. Spain: £180m – +4.8 per cent on 2018
  7. India: £166m – +19.7 per cent on 2018
  8. Japan: £147m – +16.1 per cent on 2018
  9. Latvia: £142m – +8.1 per cent on 2018
  10. Mexico: £121m – -8.1 per cent on 2018

The top 10 Scotch export markets by volume:

  1. France: 173m bottles – -7.9 per cent on 2018
  2. India: 131m bottles – +16.1 per cent on 2018
  3. USA: 127m bottles – -7 per cent on 2018
  4. Japan: 60m bottles – +19.7 per cent on 2018
  5. Spain: 56m bottles – +1.7 per cent on 2018
  6. Mexico: 51m bottles – -14 per cent on 2018
  7. Germany: 50m bottles – +8.3 per cent on 2018
  8. Singapore: 44m bottles – -1.6 per cent on 2018
  9. Brazil: 43m bottles – +10 per cent on 2018
  10. South Africa: 42m bottles – +0.2 per cent on 2018

Commenting on the figures, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association Karen Betts highlighted concerns about the impact of a 25 per cent tariff on the import of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Scotch Whisky liqueurs into the United States:

“These figures underscore the global reach of Scotch Whisky,” said Betts.

“They show that Scotch Whisky remains at the heart of a dynamic, competitive, international spirits market and continues to attract consumers tapping into the global trend for premium spirits.

“The growth of developing markets in Africa and Asia shows that Scotch Whisky continues to bring new consumers to our globally renowned brands.

“However, the imposition of a 25 per cent tariff on exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Scotch Whisky Liqueurs to the United States is very concerning, and the 25 per cent fall in exports to the US in the fourth quarter of 2019, immediately following the implementation of tariffs, is stark.

“The tariffs are hitting producers hard, particularly small distillers.  Some are now asking themselves how they can continue exporting to the US, whether they can build up alternative markets, which is not something that can be done quickly, and if not how their businesses will cope.

“We are continuing to press the UK government to put in place a package of support for distillers to help mitigate the impact of tariffs, including a cut in excise duty in next month’s budget which would allow distillers to re-invest in the UK market while sales are under pressure in the US.”