Scotch whisky exports rose by nearly 9% to reach a record high of £4.4bn in 2017 according to HMRC regional and overseas trade statistics.

The volume of Scotch whisky shipped overseas increased by 1.6% to 1.23 billion bottles.

Single malt saw 14% growth to reach £1.2bn and blends underwent a resurgence to increase by 8% to a total of £3.2bn.

Scotch whisky benefitted from growth in its five top export markets; US, France, Singapore as a gateway to China, Germany and Spain. In addition, exports to Latvia, an entry point for Russia, almost doubled.

Scotch Whisky Association CEO Karen Betts said: “These encouraging figures show how popular Scotch whisky is right around the world.

“Already a strong export, loved for its sophistication, diversity and provenance, it’s great to see Scotch continuing to grow in established and new markets.”

Whisky exports dominated Scotland’s growth in food and drinks exports in 2017, which reached a record value of £6bn. This represents an 11% rise compared to 2016.

Scotch whisky was the only product recorded in the drinks category, which was worth £4.4bn.

Food exports totalled £1.6bn, an increase of 15%. Growth was led by fish and seafood, which were worth £944m, 23% higher than 2016.

According to HMRC, the beverages and tobacco category, which is dominated by whisky, accounted for 14.3% of Scotland’s total 2017 exports. Scotland’s exports across all categories totalled £28.8bn in 2017, representing a 19.2% increase from 2016.

Talking about the record growth in Scotland’s food and drinks expert, Scotland Food and Drink chief executive James Withers said: “The world is increasingly developing a taste for Scottish produce and it is driving incredible growth for Scottish food and drink businesses and the economy as a whole.

“A few years ago, reaching £6bn in annual export sales was just an ambition. However, industry leadership and a crucial partnership with government has made it a reality.”

As a region, Scotland accounted for 8.7% of the UK’s total annual exports. The South East of England contributed the highest proportion, 13.7%.