Earlier this year, the Scotch Whisky Association released analysis which showed the decline in Scotch exports was now “slowing”, suggesting a more optimistic future for the category.
In 2015, the value of Scotch whisky exports reached £3.86 billion, representing a decline of 2.4% from £3.95bn in 2014. This compared to a 7% decline from 2013 to 2014, indicating a slowing decline.
Sales of the world’s biggest brands by volume appear to back this assessment up, with many posting improving declines on the previous year and just two achieving significant growth.
Taking the category as a whole, sales of single malts helped drive value sales in 2015, particularly in the US, which maintained an export value of £749 million, accounting for nearly a fifth of all Scotch exports.
Other strong performers included Japan, which saw the value of Scotch exports rise by 18% to £76m. Mexico increased its value by 17% to £115m, Turkey up 24% to almost £53m and China returned to the top 20 markets with an increase of 5% to £41m. Further growth was seen in the Netherlands, which saw the value of exports increase by 30% to £74m, and Poland where exports increased to £53m – a 20% increase.
Blended Scotch whisky remains the biggest category, with a value of £2.77bn, accounting for 72% of the global value of exports, but representing a decline of 3%. By volume, blended Scotch exports declined by 1.7% in 2015.
So following several years of instability, which brands are continuing to dominate the market, and are any newcomers threatening to upset the status quo?
Here, we have ranked the world’s top 10 best-selling global Scotch whisky brands based on the number of nine-litre cases sold annually. Brands owned by The Edrington Group, particularly The Famous Grouse, are not listed as the drinks business was unable to confirm accurate figures. It is thought that annual sales of Famous Grouse would amount to around 3 million nine-litre cases, which would rank it as seventh on our list.