Brexit is costing the whisky industry £5 million per week

From SNP Media

New analysis from the House of Commons Library shows Brexit is costing the whisky industry £5 million per week.

UK exports of whiskies to the EU were £105.7 million lower in January-May 2021 than in January – May 2019, which, on average, is £5.0 million a week lower.

In the immediate aftermath of Brexit – January to March 2021 – the whisky industry saw its exports drop to £135.9 million lower than in the same period in 2019, which works out as £10.4 million a week lower on average.

In 2019, Scotch Whisky accounted for 75 per cent of all Scottish food and drink exports, 21 per cent of all UK food and drink exports, and 1.4 per cent of all UK goods exports.

Commenting, SNP MP for Argyll and Bute, Brendan O’Hara, said: 

“Scotch whisky plays a crucial role in the success of Scotland’s food and drinks sector and our economy given it accounts for 75% of the sector – so for the industry to be losing £5 million per week is devastating.

“The triple whammy of a Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for, the pandemic and the US tariffs – which have thankfully now been lifted but not before they cost the industry at least half a billion pounds – have dealt a hammer blow to the Scottish whisky sector.

“All in all the losses to Scotch Whisky exports have been eye-watering, as a result of a Tory Brexit and the UK government’s lack of action over the US tariffs – it is beyond time the UK government made amends for this.

“Going forward, we need to see continued and intensified support for Scotch whisky and that includes a response to the long-awaited Treasury review of alcohol duty.

“But it is clear that the only way to protect Scotland’s whisky sector is to get it out from under the control of Westminster Tories with the full powers of independence.”

House of Commons Library research 

4 thoughts on “Brexit is costing the whisky industry £5 million per week

  1. The Exchequer must be getting badly bruised by such as these Brexit effects.. If I recall correctly from 20+years ago, a measure from a bottle covered everything else, the rest went to HMG.
    And let’s not kid ourselves about it affecting only Scotland’s domestic economy, the dominant dealers in England will be suffering after years of steady and lucrative profits…
    Oh dear, what a pity, never mind….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Once you start to lose market share,it is difficult to recover,especially if you also lose Geographic Indicator status at the same time.
    The Chinese with their brand new proto type Scotch distillery,Made in Scotland,will be keen to fill any gaps in the market.


  3. Whisky companies tax evade and pay no tax because of Westminster tax regime? HQ in London, Less revenues for Scotland. Ingredients barley, water etc, acquired in Scotland.



  4. On the whisky industry and its economic benefits to Scotland, has anyone run an independent assessment since this one in 2012?

    Blackett (2012) Contribution of the Scotch Whisky Industry to the Scottish Economy. Biggar Economics report ( )

    It’s an old study now but then it noted that of a turnover of £5,038m in 2011, the Scotch whisky industry’s ‘profits and return on capital’ amounted to £3,013m (or 60% of turnover value).

    The report included this statement: “Of the £3,013 million that can be accounted for by operating profit and return on capital, little of this seems to be re-invested in the Scottish economy. The briefing for MSPs gave a figure for investment of £800 million OVER THE LIFE OF the last Scottish Parliament, £200 million per year, which is LESS THAN 7% OF THE ESTIMATED OPERATING PROFIT AND RETURN ON CAPITAL IN 2011.” (my emphasis) That last sentence is worth reading again!

    What is the current situation I wonder?


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