By a Newsnet reporter
Exports of Scotch whisky have increased by 23% in the first nine months of this year according to figures released by the industry.
The huge rise has meant the UK Treasury now benefits to the tune of £3 billion annually from the Scottish made commodity.
The new figures show that exports increased to the USA which remains the biggest foreign market at £430 million. However there was also good news from emerging markets in the Far East with sales to China increasing.
Last year First Minister Alex Salmond headed a delegation to the Chinese Republic which helped persuade the Chinese to introduce legislation protecting the Scotch Wwhisky brand, Mr Salmond is due to return this weekend to further strengthen links between Scotland and the Chinese.
News of the rise in whisky exports was welcomed by Richard Lochhead, the SNP’s Scottish Rural Affairs Minister, who said: “Our whisky sector is an international success story with more and more discerning drinkers across the globe enjoying a dram and a little bit of Scotland.
“We have great ambition for exports from Scotland. Other industries should be learning from the continuing investment of the Scotch whisky industry.
“The Scottish government does not take this investment for granted and we fundamentally recognise the contribution that Scotch Whisky makes to Scotland – in jobs, tourism and culture.”
The soon-to-be-head of the Scotch Whisky Association, Ian Curle said: “The industry’s in excellent health at present. Scotch is truly iconic. It’s extremely well positioned, largely due to investment and also down to developing economies’ growing middle class wealth and aspiration.”