The boom in international trade was further boosted by demand in India where exports have risen by a record 41%.
India is highlighted in the government’s recently launched UK Food and Drink International Action Plan for its export potential. The ambition is to gain £349m in food and drink export wins there over the next five years.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom visited the Glenmorangie bottling plant yesterday, where she saw first-hand how the demand has grown.
Ms Leadsom said: "The Scotch whisky industry is a powerful example on the significant global opportunities out there for our food and drink businesses.
"It accounts for nearly one quarter of all our food and drink exports each year – a true powerhouse of our food and farming industry which generates over £100bn year and employs one in eight people.
"International trade is at the heart of our economy and our food and drink industry has a crucial role to play. That is why we have launched our ambitious plan to boost our exports by £3bn over the next five years."
Scotland’s food and drink makes up 30% of the UK’s total food and drink exports, worth £5.5m to the UK economy.
Whisky accounts for £3.9bn of exports, while Scottish fish and seafood was worth £553m last year.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, deputy chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association said: "Today’s meeting with the Environment Secretary was worthwhile and timely, including our discussion on the opportunities and challenges of Brexit for Scotch Whisky. Scotch is a British success story – the single biggest net contributor to the UK trade balance in goods - but there is more we can do to grow exports in collaboration with Defra and other sectors.
"We welcomed the chance to talk about the importance of continued moves towards a fairer and competitive excise duty regime in the UK. Looking overseas, we would like to see new free trade deals which provide a boost to Scotch in a range of markets, including India, where further growth is being held back by the 150% import tariff.
"The new International Action Plan is a key strand of the Government’s Great British Food campaign, which was introduced to celebrate our world-class food industry and culture, drive growth and jobs in the sector, and establish Britain’s reputation as a great food nation."
Trade minister Lord Price, who also visited Scotland to meet business leaders at Scottish Development International, said: "Scotland has always had a global outlook, with over 60% of its exports going outside the EU, and burgeoning relationships with growing markets like Thailand.
"There are big opportunities out there for Scottish businesses, not just in areas like whisky where Scotland is known throughout the world, but also in new sectors like renewable energy and life sciences"
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