SCOTLAND’S whisky industry is set to celebrate one of its best years despite straitened financial circumstances.

Figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) show that, so far, 2023 exports have increased by 17% when compared to 2019.

Indeed, it is believed exports of whisky could exceed £6 billion for only the second time in the industry’s history.

Yearly figures from the SWA won’t be available until February.

It comes after the UK Government increased alcohol duty for spirits by 10.1% in August.

However, in the UK's autumn statement a duty freeze was placed across all four alcohol categories – including spirits.

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According to the SWA, it means that of the £15.63 spent on an average bottle of whisky, a total of £11.40 is collected through duty and VAT.

Spirits continue to be taxed higher than beer, cider and wine.

Kieran Healey-Ryder, head of whisky discovery for Whyte & Mackay, told trade publication The Spirits Business: “The tax framework in the UK disproportionately penalises whisky – and that framework does not look like it will be changed any time soon.”

He added that while distilleries continue to have a beneficial impact on Scotland’s economy they are hampered by a lack of investment in infrastructure – particularly ferries.

“Distilleries are often the biggest employer in a really tiny community.

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“Getting to them has become so difficult in the past few years. The ferry infrastructure has been really challenging.”

The CEO of the SWA, Mark Kent, added that a trade deal between the UK and India in 2024 also had the potential to boost exports.

“A trade deal could reduce the 150% tariff on Scotch whisky in India – which was the largest market by volume for Scotch whisky in 2022,” he said.