As the latest GDP figures reveal 0.2 per cent growth for the third quarter of the year in Scotland, it’s important to note the important contribution whisky makes in supporting the Scottish economy writes Glen Brasington, of Chivas Brothers

In the time you will take to read this article, at least 1,000 bottles of Scotch whisky will have been shipped overseas.

It’s certainly a figure to make you stop and think and it truly brings to life the important role that Scotch plays within Scotland’s heritage – and its economy.

From job creation, through to the value of exports and cross-country supply chains, whisky reaches far and wide and touches all areas of the Scottish economy.

On Tuesday (17th January) many of us were pleased to see that the latest GDP figures revealed 0.2 per cent growth for the third quarter of the year in Scotland, a slight increase on the 0.1 per cent reported in the second quarter .

This growth maybe small, but Tuesday’s news has helped to harness a feeling of optimism across our nation and the whisky industry plays its part in this.

We know there is an inherent demand for Scotch whisky around the world; Scotch exports increased by 3.4 per cent to £1.8 billion towards the end of last year according to SWA.

Times are tough across all industries but these export figures show stamina and resilience and I believe whisky has played an important role in helping to keep the Scottish economy afloat in the third quarter of 2017/18.

There is more evidence to support this belief – the Scotch Whisky Association recently reported that the whisky sector directly contributes over £3.2 billion to the Scottish economy and this rises to £4.7 billion when indirect and induced effects are taken into
consideration.

That’s quite the triumph when you consider the raft of change the UK is wading through right now – and goes some way to demonstrate how important it is that the industry is well represented when it comes to decisions that will impact the economy such as Brexit.

Indeed, it is not only the final product that we have to take into consideration when looking at whisky’s contribution to the Scottish economy.

There are over 100 distilleries in Scotland, all of which offer a unique tourist attraction and are something that we should be truly
proud of.

Distilling is an art that our nation has mastered and quite rightly it attracts interest from all corners of the globe.

It is magnificent to think that out of our 30,000 square miles of land in Scotland, we are able to serve this product to over 180+ markets across the world, with SWA citing that as an industry this generates over 10,000 jobs in Scotland.

The audience for whisky is going through an evolution and as we see new interest from different consumer groups, we are also seeing the opening of new distilleries which are bringing new opportunities to Scotland and the industry.

As a business we are certainly investing for the future and we are
optimistic about the opportunities to secure future growth. This can certainly be seen in our work to expand The Glenlivet distillery which will help us to capitalise on the growing demand for single malts, as well as in our plans to invest £40million in a new state-of- the-art and world-class plant on our Kilmalid site.

Having been a part of the Scottish economy for over a hundred years, our business – which houses well known whiskies including Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and The Glenlivet – is firmly committed to the industry.

We’re operating in tough times but these shoots of growth should be encouraged and together as an industry, we must celebrate the vital role that Scotch plays in Scotland.

• Glen Brasington is marketing director for strategy, business development and services at Chivas Brothers

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