The whisky industry was a key contributor to the growth of Scottish drink and food exports in the last year, as a new record was set.
In figures released by HM Revenues & Customs, food and drink valued at £5.4 billion were exported from the country in 2011. This was said to have exceeded the expectations of insiders, with 2017 industry targets being surpassed. In 2007, the food and drink export industry set itself a 10-year target of exporting goods to the value of £5.1 billion.
The single biggest sector in these figures was whisky exports, with a value of £4.23 billion, an increase of 23%. The biggest single market for whisky remained the US, with product value exported here reaching £655 million.
In food terms, there was a 9% increase. This market was dominated by fish and shellfish with a 56% share, equating to a worth of £1.16 billion, though fruit and vegetables saw the biggest single increase. This rose by more than 62%, to a value of £62 million. It shows the potential for growth in the sector, something which Scottish factoring companies are increasingly helping with.
It is something which the industry recognises, with the chief executive at Scotland Food and Drink, James Withers, admitting that the food and drink industry is the strongest growth story in Scotland at the moment.
It is likely that entrepreneurs quick to catch on to this will reap significant rewards. With rapid growth being seen in the BRIC countries, new territories are ripe for the taking. With both the Scottish and UK Governments hoping for an export-led recovery for the country, the news is likely to be greeted with a celebratory dram in both Holyrood and Westminster.