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Wednesday 29 November 2023





This is something you didn't know. History says that The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World with 102 passengers, on 16/9/1620. The ship was headed for Virginia, where the colonists–half religious dissenters and half entrepreneurs–had been authorized to settle by the British crown. However, stormy weather and navigational errors forced the Mayflower off course, and on November 21 the Pilgrims reached Massachusetts, where they founded the first permanent European settlement in New England in late December. This is the 'doctored' version.

They landed, for many reasons, on the tip of Cape Cod at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts. A party of armed men was sent out to explore the area and find a location suitable for settlement. Three weeks later, some passengers went ashore at the site located by the advance party, to a place they named Plymouth. The trip was from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, New England. 

Actually, the ship had to stop at Newlyn in Cornwall on the Land's End peninsula in England before sailing west. It was believed that the water picked up at Plymouth had caused fever and cholera in the city, so Newlyn provided fresh water to the ship. 

The first landing in New England was because the ship was running out of beer. So they halted, went ashore and collected water so that the seamen-not passengers- might have more beer. The passengers demanded beer in place of water, as they were worried about contracting Cholera. The weather was intolerable, so all passengers returned to the ship to spend winter. They suffered an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. They drank beer, as far as possible, not water, as they thought that the water was unsafe. The beer was stored in barrels known as "hogsheads." 

When it ended, there were only 53 passengers, just over half, still alive. Likewise, half of the crew died as well.

Tuesday 28 November 2023



Whisky is a passion to explore. From the history of the spirit to the evolution of the industry, the story of whisky helps fuel that passion. Often, it’s easy to forget that whisky is also a global multi-billion dollar industry. The stories of whisky — from news and new releases to in-depth inquires and what goes on behind the label — blend together to help us appreciate the spirit of whisky.

The Scotch Whisky Category hasn’t been without its challenges in the past 12 months. Rising costs and supply-chain issues have taken their toll in 2022, as nearly 40 per cent of Scotch whisky distillers have seen their shipping costs double. 2023 may see the nether side of the Scotch Whisky Industry.

A recent survey of the industry found that 57% of distillers have seen energy costs increase by more than 10% in the past year, with nearly a third seeing their energy costs double. And things could become worse in 2023 if the UK government goes ahead with its planned double-digit excise duty rise – a decision that has been delayed until the new year. If the decision goes in the category’s favour, the SWA says it will free up companies to continue to invest, create jobs, and help to grow the economy.

The Scotch whisky industry has previously been an economic anchor during turbulent times, and that is what the industry hopes to do again with the right government support. According to Euromonitor International, the category is projected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 04 per cent from 2021 to 2022, up by three percentage points. This might stagnate in 2023, which would then see a mathematical loss, not physical.

Multiple Scotch distilleries broke ground in 2022, while several others submitted plans for modern builds, including Portavadie on the banks of Loch Fyne.

Dál Riata and R&B Distillers applied to build new distilleries in Campbeltown, which will almost double the region’s current capacity, something that will add to the area’s predicted renaissance: Between Glen Scotia, Springbank and Glengyle, that create more than a million litres a year, there’s more than enough scope for more distilleries, and that’s really exciting.

Blends also should not be overlooked. Sales are expected to grow by volume (reaching 86.5m cases) and value (hitting US$44.9m) by the end of 2022. And expect a repeat in 2023, Euromonitor predicts, with a volume forecast of 98.7m cases and value worth US$47.5m. There is really no growth worth mentioning for 2023.

Scotch whisky exports declined in both value and volume during the first half of 2023, according to a new report from the Scotch Whisky Association. The report, based on HMRC statistics, shows a 3.6 percent decline in the value of Scotch Whisky exports over the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period a year ago. It should be noted that the first six months of 2022 set a record for both export value and volume as markets grew and restocked following the pandemic. The volume of Scotch whisky exports was down by 20 percent over 2022’s record volume.

SWA executives characterised the findings as part of a global trend toward premiumisation in the spirits category as consumers drink less, but better. According to SWA Chief Executive Mark Kent, “around the world, we continue to see the same trend – consumers drinking less overall and switching to higher quality spirits like Scotch Whisky. Premiumisation in the spirits category didn’t start during Covid-19, but the pandemic certainly accelerated the trend, and it remains the case that consumers are trading up, enjoying premium spirits, and consuming fewer units of alcohol. Scotch Whisky remains well placed to benefit from this shift.”

France reclaimed its long-standing position as the top export market by volume with 88 million (700ml equivalent) bottles, despite a 12.6 per cent decline from 2022. India, which had previously displaced France as the volume leader, recorded a 31.4 per cent decline to 72 million bottles. The United States ranked third with 59 million bottles even though overall exports were off by 14.9 per cent.

The U.S. continues to lead by value of exports with £437 million worth of Scotch Whisky imported during the first half of the year. However, that represents a 5.1 percent decline from 2022. France gained four per cent to £235 million to finish second once again, while Singapore’s role as an Asian shipping hub helped push exports up by 59 percent to £165 million. Taiwan and China both reported strong gains to round out the top five.

The premiumisation trend is most obvious in the Asia-Pacific countries, since none of those three crack the top ten in terms of value and the wider region reported a 13.5 per cent gain in export value. The European Union gained 3.8 per cent by value, while the non-EU European countries showed a 14.5 per cent gain. North America, the Middle East and Africa, and Central and South America all reported declining exports.

Scotch Whisky is a hallmark of Scotland's national heritage and identity. Exported to around 180 markets, Scotch Whisky is an important part of the Scottish and UK economies, generating billions in exports and supporting thousands of jobs. The quality and reputation of Scotch Whisky has made it one of the world’s best-known Geographical Indications. Securing the long-term sustainability of this thriving industry is the task of the industry’s trade body, the Scotch Whisky Association. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is working hard to ensure the industry continues to thrive. In particular, they discuss the vital role that Scotch Whisky’s long-held GI status plays in ensuring consumers continue to enjoy genuine Scotch Whisky. They also highlight SWA’s efforts to secure access to the talent and skills the industry needs to continue to thrive, for example, through its Diversity and Inclusivity Charter.






Facts & Figures

53 bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported every second to markets all over the world! There’s more about the amazing stats behind the industry.

·       53 bottles (70cl @40% ABV) of Scotch Whisky are shipped from Scotland to around 180 markets around the world each second, totalling over 1.6bn every year

·       Laid end to end those bottles would stretch about 467,000kms -  that's more than 11 times around the Earth!

·       In 2022, Scotch Whisky exports were worth £6.2bn.

·       In 2022, Scotch Whisky accounted for 77% of Scottish food and drink exports and 25% of all UK food and drink exports

·       In 2022, Scotch Whisky accounted for 26% of all Scotland’s international goods exports and 1.5% of all UK goods exports

·       The Scotch Whisky industry provides £5.5bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy (2018)

·       More than 11,000 people are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry in Scotland and over 42,000 jobs across the UK are supported by the industry

·       7,000 of these jobs in rural areas of Scotland providing vital employment and investment to communities across the Highlands and Islands

·       Around 90% of barley requirements of the industry are sourced in Scotland

·       In 2019, there were 2.2 million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries, making the industry the third most popular tourist attraction in Scotland

·       Some 22 million casks lie maturing in warehouses in Scotland waiting to be discovered - that is around 12bn 70cl bottles

·       To be called Scotch Whisky, the spirit must mature in oak casks in Scotland for at least 3 years

·       148 Scotch Whisky distilleries are currently operating across Scotland as of October 2023.

All figures relate to Jan-Dec 2022 unless stated otherwise.

Scotch Whisky Exports Over £6bn for First Time

Post-pandemic restocking, the return of Global Travel Retail and premiumisation trends all contributed to growth in volume and value for Scotch Whisky in 2022.

Global exports of Scotch Whisky grew to more than £6bn for the first time in 2022, according to figures released today by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). 

In 2022, the value of Scotch Whisky exports was up 37% by value, to £6.2bn. The number of 70cl bottles exported also grew by 21% to the equivalent of 1.67bn.

The Asia-Pacific region overtook the EU as the industry’s largest regional market, with double-digit growth in Taiwan, Singapore, India and China as the post-Covid recovery continued.  

While established EU markets such as France, Germany and Spain continued their post-pandemic bounce-back with strong growth in 2022, India replaced France as the largest Scotch Whisky market by volume. Despite double digit growth, Scotch Whisky still only comprises 2% of the Indian whisky market. SWA analysis shows that a UK-India FTA deal which eases the 150% tariff burden on Scotch Whisky in India could boost market access for Scotland’s whisky companies, allowing for an additional £1bn of growth over the next five years.

In North America, the United States continued its recovery following the impacts of tariffs on Single Malt Scotch Whisky to again be the industry’s only market with exports valued over £1bn. Both Mexico and Canada also saw growth, underlining the importance of securing further market access wins through the renegotiation of the UK’s Free Trade Agreements with both countries.

In 2022, the industry benefited from the full re-opening of hospitality businesses in key global markets, as well as the return of global travel retail which opens such an important window for Scotch Whisky to business and leisure travellers. Exports were also boosted by the continued premiumisation trend, with consumers attracted to high-quality spirits like Scotch Whisky, now often enjoyed in longer serves as well as the more traditional dram.

Looking ahead, the industry will have to continue to navigate economic headwinds, including global inflationary pressures, domestic energy and business costs, and a reduction in consumer confidence. With the right support from home governments, SWA is confident that the industry can continue to deliver for the Scottish and wider UK economy. SWA looks forward to collaborating with government and regulators on initiatives including sustainability and responsible drinking, alongside work to further boost exports, creating jobs and investment in communities across the country.

By reducing tariffs through the UK-India free trade agreement, continuing the duty freeze in the March budget, and ensuring the industry’s continued ability to advertise our world-class product in our home market, the Scottish and UK governments can count on the Scotch Whisky industry to reinvest its success across the UK.


·      Export value of Scotch Whisky in 2022 was £6.2bn, up £1.68bn compared with 2021 and £1.28bn compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic)

·      Export volume of Scotch Whisky in 2022 was 1.67bn 70cl bottles (equivalent), up 291m 70cl bottles compared with 2021 and up 364m compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic)

·      On average, the equivalent of 53 bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported every second – up from 44 per second in 2021

·      Scotch Whisky was exported to 174 global markets in 2022

·      India overtook France to be the industry’s largest global market by volume for the first time - the volume of Scotch Whisky exports to India have grown by more than 200% in the past decade alone. India is the largest whisky market in the world but Scotch Whisky has just a 2% share of the Indian whisky market. The SWA believes that reducing the 150% tariff in India could increase the value of exports to the market by £1 billion over five years.

·      The United States recovered to reach over £1bn of exports – the first time since the 25% tariff on Single Malt Scotch Whisky was suspended (£1.06bn in 2019)

·     Bottled Blended Scotch Whisky accounted for 59% of value exports, with Single Malt 32% all Scotch Whisky exports by value.

Top 10 Markets  

The largest export destinations for Scotch Whisky (defined by value) in 2022 (vs 2021) were:  

·      USA: £ 1,053m +33% (£790m in 2021) 

·      France: £ 488m +26% (£387m in 2021) 

·      Singapore: £316m +50% (£212m in 2021) 

·      Taiwan: £315m +39% (£226m in 2021) 

·      India: £282m +93% (£146m in 2021) 

·      China: £233m +18% (£198m in 2021) 

·      Panama: £203m +165% (£77m in 2021) 

·      Germany: £202m +36% (£148m in 2021) 

·      Japan: £175m +32% (£133m in 2021) 

·      Spain: £173m +46% (£118m in 2021) 

The largest export destinations for Scotch Whisky (defined by volume, 70cl bottles equivalent) in 2022 were:  

·      India: 219m bottles +60% (136m bottles in 2021) 

·      France: 205m bottles +17% (176m bottles in 2021) 

·      United States: 137m bottles +9% (126 m bottles in 2021) 

·      Brazil: 93m bottles +14% (82 m bottles in 2021) 

·      Japan: 75m bottles +33% (56 m bottles in 2021) 

·      Germany: 67m bottles +48% (46 m bottles in 2021) 

·      Spain: 67m bottles +39% (48 m bottles in 2021) 

·      Poland: 49m bottles +9% (45 m bottles in 2021) 

·      Mexico: 48m bottles +2% (48 m bottles in 2021) 

·      South Africa: 39m bottles +15% (34 m bottles in 2021) 

Regional Data

In 2022, Scotch Whisky exports by global region (defined by value) were:

  • ·       Asia Pacific: £1818m +50% vs 2021 (29% of global exports)
  • ·       European Union: £1596m +17% vs 2021 (26% of global exports)
  • ·       North America: £1327m +32% vs 2021 (21% of global exports)
  • ·       Central and South America: £737m +66% vs 2021 (12% of global exports)
  • ·       Middle East and North Africa: £326m +74% vs 2021 (5% of global exports)
  • ·       Sub-Saharan Africa: £204m +30% vs 2021 (3% of global exports)
  • ·       Western Europe (ex EU): £146m +49% vs 2021 (2% of global exports)
  • ·       Eastern Europe (ex.EU): £39m -18% vs 2021 (0.6% of global exports)

Category Data

In 2022, Scotch Whisky exports by category (defined by value) were:

  • ·       Bottled Blend £3670m +43% vs 2021 (59% of global exports)
  • ·       Single Malt £1986m +30% vs 2021 (32% of global exports)
  • ·       Bulk Blend £190m +13% vs 2021 (3% of global exports)
  • ·       Bottled Blended Malt £140m +22% vs 2021 (2% of global exports)
  • ·       Bulk Blended Malt £130m +37% vs 2021 (2% of global exports)
  • ·       Bulk Single & Blended Grain £58m +39% vs 2021 (1% of global exports)
  • ·       Bottled Single & Blended Grain £19m +150% vs 2021 (0.3% of global exports)

Saturday 18 November 2023



Chivas Brothers, the Scotch Whisky arm of French Alco-Bev major Pernod Ricard announced its FY23 full-year performance with net sales up +17 per cent, taking total sales to a ten-year high. The results demonstrate ongoing strong global demand for Scotch and reinforce the company's long-term premiumisation strategy.

Alongside this positive growth, Chivas Brothers also announced more than £60 million in planned investment over the next three years to accelerate its energy and carbon reduction journeys to achieve carbon neutral distillation by the end of 2026. It follows the company's move to make its heat recovery technology learnings open source for the industry, after proving successful at Glentauchers distillery, with a 53 per cent reduction in carbon emissions at this site alone.

Chivas Regal celebrated global growth of +25 per cent with impressive performance in markets such as India and Japan. The brand's success was driven by its core aged range, with Chivas Regal 18 the leading 18-year old blended Scotch globally by both volume and value in calendar year 2022, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis 2022. Chivas Regal was also the leading contributor to Pernod Ricard Group growth in FY23.

The Asia region has been particularly robust, with +21 per cent growth in FY23, and the number one contributor to growth overall. India (+27 per cent), South Korea (+19 per cent), Japan (+28 per cent) and Greater China (+7 per cent) have also seen exceptionally strong performances and are driving demand with new Scotch audiences. China is a vast market for Johnnie Walker.

Chivas Brothers plans to introduce premium and super-premium brands from its global portfolio in India, riding on the premiumisation trend in the region. India with its growing whisky consumer base can potentially be the largest market for the global inc.

India is the biggest whisky market in the world with over 25 million new consumers entering the space every year, and can well be a ‘unique and game-changing’ market. The company has witnessed a 13-15 per cent constant CAGR over the last five years. In FY23, it reported 27 per cent growth in India.

The makers of Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, and Royal Salute will be introducing new variants and matured malts of its Glenlivet brand, which is fruitier, smoother and tropical flavor-laden and and has the type of aromas dedicated to the southern part of India. It will also be launching a new expression of 100 Pipers in India, in the premium segment.

In total, Chivas Brothers has 40 odd Scotch Whisky brands, and only 7-8 are currently present in India, hence there is room for growth in the Indian market, both mid-range and premium. The innovations of Glenlivet, popular in both the EU and the USA, will now reach Indian shelves.

Today, India is one of Chivas Brothers top three markets and at par with France. The CAGR rate is sustainable, driven by growth in the premium and super premium category. Chivas is also building brands, supply chain, and inventory in the region. The company is seeing growth to be more value-driven than volume-driven as consumption has ramped up with premiumisation taking centre stage. Both Ballantine’s and Chivas saw a very strong growth. The higher the age profile of the whisky or the premium-ness (to coin a word) the stronger the growth has been. On the India-UK FTA negotiations, Chivas believes that though the company does not define its strategies according to the FTA, it will be an ‘excellent’ addition as it can help to offer much better Scotch Whisky at more affordable prices to consumers in India and will be a “huge benefit.”

Ballantine's grew by +13 per cent in FY23, driven by particularly strong growth in its prestige range, which exceeded that of the total Prestige and Prestige Plus Scotch category, according to IWSR in 2022. Ballantine's 21 and Ballantine's 17 have been the key drivers alongside Ballantine's Finest, with the Asia region excelling during this fiscal.

Royal Salute recorded a significant +32 per cent, growing ahead of the Prestige and Prestige Plus Scotch category by both value and volume in 2022-23, as the brand continues to elevate through exclusive luxury releases such as the Royal Salute Coronation of King Charles III Edition.


The Glenlivet continues its upward trajectory with +9 per cent growth and was the best-selling single malt by volume in 2022, according to the IWSR4, setting the brand in strong stead for its 200 year anniversary in 2024. This has been driven by significant demand for its Super Premium and Ultra Premium ranges in an already competitive category, with balanced growth across the brand's global footprint.

Specialty brand Aberlour, part of the broader Chivas Brothers single malt brand portfolio, also grew +11 per cent in the highly competitive malts category.


Thursday 16 November 2023




Scotland's Isle of Harris Distillery has finally launched its inaugural single malt whisky. The whisky – called The Hearach, after the Scottish Gaelic name for a native of Harris – is the first legal whisky to be produced on the island and has been distilled, matured, married, and bottled on-site.

The Hearach is the first to revive the distilling traditions lost during the Pabbay clearances of the 1840s. The dram is the result of a considered conversation between people and place, coming together to create an elegant spirit of complexity and character. The work of the island's men and women intertwines with the natural world to weave together an Outer Hebridean whisky of distinction. Every drop of this new dram is being distilled by local people to produce a special spirit which has been matured, married, and bottled here in this elemental place, and nowhere else. The Hearach is bottled at 46% abv, non-chill filtered, and free from artificial colouring.

It was officially launched during an event at the distillery in Tarbert on 22 Sep 2023. A village cèilidh with live music played, with the whisky available to buy at the event and at village bars from 7pm that night. The Hearach then went on free sale from 10am GMT on Saturday 23 September at the distillery shop and at, before being made available at specialist retailers in the UK and globally in subsequent months.

The bottle – created by specialist spirits design agency Stranger & Stranger – was first revealed then. It’s been 15 years since Burr Bakewell formed the Isle of Harris Distillery Company, and they always said that the whisky would be ready when it’s ready, so it was a big moment to finally announce a launch date, on the distillery’s eighth birthday.

The Hearach’s launch, eight years after the distillery opened, is a tribute to the efforts and support of many people: the designers and builders of the distillery, the countless people from the island community and beyond who gave support over the years, investors who supported a long-term vision of regeneration predicated on the creation of a distinctive whisky, and the team that brought the distillery to life who, notwithstanding the many challenges, have remained passionately focused on achieving product and service quality – now embodied in The Hearach single malt.


The owners believe that the water, sourced from Abhainn Cnoc a’ Charrain, is the softest of any Scottish distillery. Only very low sodium and chlorine minerals are measured, likely derived from the sea spray that blows over our village isthmus.

The rivers and streams of north Harris flow over Lewisian gneiss, some of the oldest rocks on earth, dated by radiometric techniques at between 2.4 billion and 2.6 billion years old. Its hardness helps ensure the extremely low minerality of the source water.

After longer fermentations and hands-on distillation in bespoke copper stills, the oak casks, chosen when visiting Kentucky and Spain, are brought to use. The chaos in the casks then ensues by the shores of the Atlantic, near the west-coast village of Ardhasaig. Despite the northerly latitude, the island’s oceanic climate benefits from the currents of the Gulf Stream. This system keeps seasonal temperatures remain remarkably stable, which benefits the maturation process.

The final, hard to define, element of our whisky making is the natural way of working which requires patience, from fermentation to marrying. This is a slow whisky and the hierarchy looks forward to sharing it at a different pace.

Every bottle is presented in bespoke packaging. The box is debossed throughout including a Gneiss rock pattern taken from stone near the water source on the front panel. The bottles, designed by world-leading agency Stranger & Stranger, will be accompanied by the personal tasting notes of someone from Harris, with different batches offering slightly different tastes depending on the marrying period and variations in individual casks. Photographs of people from Harris feature on the reverse panel. There are four combinations and panels are allocated to bottles at random. The inner panels contain a poem/song in Scottish Gaelic called 'Eilean Na Hearadh' (Isle of Harris). A small booklet is enclosed containing the story of the whisky.

To reduce waste of materials, a bottle coaster is also included, made from excess materials created during the production process. All packaging is 100% recyclable including the biodegradable tamper-proof seal.

On 23 September 2023, Isle of Harris Distillers launched its long-awaited single malt Scotch whisky, The Hearach, to record queues at the distillery in Tarbert and online – where stock sold out in just four and a half hours.

25,000 eager purchasers joined the online queue to bag the first eight batches of The Hearach until supplies were exhausted after just 4.5 hours. At the same time, one thousand people queued happily outside the distillery for up to three hours to buy a first release bottle, travelling from as far away as Canada for the occasion. Local man, Murdo MacLeod was first in the queue having camped out since 2am that morning and becoming the first Hearach to purchase The Hearach at the distillery.

Those who missed out on purchasing The Hearach on launch weekend are, however, still in with a chance of becoming part of whisky history, with specialist retailers and bars and restaurants across the UK putting The Hearach on sale from October 2023. International markets will follow later, with The Hearach available in over 20 countries globally. Meanwhile, visitors to the distillery will be able to purchase The Hearach while stocks last.

The first whisky released by Isle of Harris Distillers, The Hearach is an elegant, highly drinkable single malt, with fruit and floral notes and a long, slightly smoky, finish. The whisky, handcrafted by a team of locals from Harris, has been distilled, matured (in first-fill bourbon, oloroso and fino sherry casks), married and bottled (at 46% ABV) on the island.

The distillers describe it as ‘complex and utterly delicious’, reflecting in part its use of the softest of water and the Harris climate, second to none for the maturation of spirit. The launch of The Hearach follows the success of the Isle of Harris Gin, which is now available in 25 countries worldwide and recently celebrated its one millionth bottle coming off the production line at the Tarbert distillery.

Conceived by Anderson Bakewell, who has a 50-year relationship with Harris, the distillery opened in 2015 to act as a symbol of hope and optimism for the Harris community - creating sustainable jobs for local people and supporting the wider island economy for generations to come. Starting life with a team of just 10 locals, today the distillery family numbers some 48 full-time staff. The Hearach single malt whisky, supported by Isle of Harris Gin, will enable the distillery to continue supporting the local community and provide exciting job opportunities for islanders.

The Hearach has an RRP of £65/-