Scotland’s Economy: How Does Whisky Contribute?

The best-selling scotch whisky brand in the world, Johnnie Walker, supports the notion that whisky is massively beneficial to the Scottish economy.

The Johnnie Walker experience opened in late 2021 in Edinburgh. After only 12 months, the experience has garnered an impressive 300,000 people visiting from every corner of the globe.

Interestingly, of these 300,000 customers, less than half of them claimed to be regular Scotch drinkers. However, over 30% of the foreign customers claimed that after their experience had encouraged them to drink more whisky in the future.

Ewan Andrew, Diageo's president of supply chain and procurement, has spearheaded the investment programme located in Scotland.

He stated: “Scotch whisky is in great demand around the world, as Johnnie Walker’s record global sales figures over the past year have shown. We want to bring those consumers from around the world to Scotland and give them an unforgettable experience. The first year of operations at Johnnie Walker Princes Street gives us great confidence that we can achieve that and continue to build the reputation of Scotch whisky as the world’s best-loved distilled spirit."

Over the past couple of years, the UK has faced many difficulties such as; a pandemic (Covid) stopping travel, people being kept at home, big changes to UK trade rules as a result of Brexit, supply chain issues and an inflation spike. Despite these ongoing factors that have led to a decline in tourism and hospitality, experts in the industry argue that whisky has been very resilient and this suggests positive signs of recovery.

Scotch whisky last year accounted for 75% of Scottish food and drink exports, 22% of UK food and drink exports, and 1.4% of all UK goods exports. Scotland is at an all-time high for the number of distilleries since the second world war.

One of the many distilleries that can be found scattered across Scotland. (Source: Unsplash)

Alan Powell, co-ordinator of the British Distillers Alliance had planned to retire in 2021 but claims he has never been busier thanks to the booming market for Scotch whisky.

“Even during Covid, I was busier than ever,” said Powell.

Even with all of the challenges that Scotland has faced during the past 3 years, statistics suggest that whisky has continued to grow as one a massive contributor to the economy.

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