UK Scotch Whisky exports grew by 7.8% in value to reach £4.7bn in 2018, according to official figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The number of 70cl bottles exported also reached record levels, growing by 3.6% to  £1.28bn. Exports for Blended Scotch Whisky rose to £3.04bn.

The report also suggested further growth in the exports of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which grew by 11.3% to £1.30bn in 2018.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Karen Betts said: “2018 was another year of strong export growth for Scotch Whisky, attesting to its enduring popularity in different countries and among cultures right across the world. Quite simply, Scotch Whisky remains the whisky everyone wants to drink.

“We also want to see the UK and EU agree to an open and positive future relationship, which delivers frictionless trade with the EU.”

“These figures underscore the strength of the Scotch Whisky category, which has continued to grow despite the challenges posed by Brexit and by tensions in the global trading system.

“A key driver for global growth is the growing market for premium spirits. Scotch Whisky is in a great position to take advantage of this given its unrivalled reputation for quality, authenticity and provenance.”

According to HMRC, exports to the US reached £1.04bn last year and became the first billion-pound export market for Scotch Whisky.

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However, the EU remained one of the largest export regions, accounting for 30% of global value and 36% of global volume.

Betts further added: “However, the industry does not take continued growth for granted. We operate in a competitive global marketplace and so a competitive business environment in Scotland and across the UK is vital to Scotch Whisky’s success.

“For Scotch, that means fair and balanced regulation and taxes, including excise duty, to give distillers the confidence to invest in future growth.

“We also want to see the UK and EU agree to an open and positive future relationship, which delivers frictionless trade with the EU, and the UK to secure ambitious trading relationships with key markets around the world.”