Scottish Gin best in the world and export sales up 11% to nearly £400 million


According to the Scotch Whisky Association:

‘Scotch Whisky is vital to the entire Scottish and UK economies, adding £5 billion in value each year, supporting more than 40,000 jobs and exporting £4 billion of Scotch annually to almost 200 markets.’

The £4 billion in Whisky exports and £400 million in Gin exports reported here contrasts interestingly with HM Customs and excise figures of only £895m and £108 million lends support to commentator B le Panda below my previous article:

Now, Scottish produced Gin exports are up 11% to £400 million with Esker Gin from Aberdeenshire now recognised as the best in the world at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London on 26th July. Other Scottish gins won silver awards for packaging and mixing.


33 thoughts on “Scottish Gin best in the world and export sales up 11% to nearly £400 million

  1. johnrobertson834 August 2, 2017 / 4:33 pm

    My first reaction was the HM Customs figures were just revenue but
    1 The don’t say that
    2 The tax on whisky is 77% therefore about £3 billion not £895 million

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ludo Thierry August 2, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    Hi Prof et al – Prof you’re leading me astray here – I’m a healthcare worker and not an economist – but you and M. le Panda whetted my appetite.

    I found a couple of useful sites which offered comparison figures for Irish Whiskey and Scotch exports.

    According to WTEx (World’s Top Exports) website (article by Daniel Workman dated 21/02/17) : Alcohol (including spirits and liquers was sitting as 19th out of 20 most valuable irish exports.

    As of 2015 production of irish whiskey stands at 7.7m cases (a case apparently = 9 litres)

    WTEx article reports that in 2013 Scotland shipped 93m cases whilst Ireland shipped 6.2m cases.

    WTEx article reports Irish alcohol exports (includes spirits, liquers) = $868.6m (seemed to price it in US dollars). This was an increase from 2015 of 24.7%

    Meanwhile – an article on a site called Finfacts Ireland (by Michael Hennigan dated 30/01/15) offered some broadly similar figures.

    Finfacts mentioned Scotch exports as approx 96m cases – so that would be their estimate for 2014 I reckon.

    Finfacts article says “This week (Jan 2015) the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) reported exports grew from £1.9billion(sterling) in 2002 to £3.9billion(sterling) in 2013 – an increase of 111%. Earlier this month, Bord Bia, the Irish State Agency, reported that Irish Whiskey exports have risen 60% since 2009 to 365mEuro in 2014”.

    Elsewhere in the Finfacts article he mentions Exports 2014 as: Scotch 5.2billion Euro. Irish Whiskey 365 million Euro.

    He describes employment in 2014 as: Scotch 10,900 jobs Irish Whiskey 800 jobs

    By my very rapid (and inadequate) calculations WTEx is describing the Scotch exports as approx 15 times the volume and Finfacts are calculating them at (not so far from) 15 times the value as compared to Irish Whiskey (our Irish friends seem to do a bit better on the export receipts than we do).

    This info was very rapidly pulled together from sites I cannot vouch for – but hopefully it will encourage M. le Panda to get on the investigation trail and try to provide us all with more accurate figures to inform debate.

    I note in passing that the Bord Bia (a State Agency) seems to be doing a better job (over recent years) at expanding Irish Whiskey exports (from a very considerably lower base admittedly) than the private industry body SWA seems to have been doing with Scotch (with the caveat that they are dealing with massively larger quantity of exports).

    If I have completely messed up in my interpretation of the figs I again explain that I am an AHP – not an economist!

    Thanks all, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ludo Thierry August 2, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    Hi Prof – Need it be corrupting? – in all things moderation? – Your point is, however, a valid one for that % of our fellow beings who find it hard to keep alcohol intake at sensible levels – Cheers, Ludo

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Contrary August 2, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    Oh, I don’t think I have tried Esker Gin, might be worth a try if it has been voted best in the world – quite a feat when you can make gin out of nearly anything up to and including old socks probably and anywhere (barely any standards in what constitutes gin I believe). I’ll check it out with my booze advisor first though. In fact I might as well give the company a wee plug (and hope there are more that 200 readers today?!)

    The Good Spirits Co., on Bath Street, Glasgow, are purveyors of fine spirits and have no qualms about minimum pricing, because they sell only quality (well, mostly, I am certainly no expert); they were one of the first small businesses to pay all staff the LIVING wage (and won some kind of award a few years back) – and say that it works fine, there really is not a problem running a business while allowing your staff to be able to feed themselves (my words); and are ardent supporters of independence, allegedly. Anyway, if it really is any good, this Esker Gin, they will know, and surely stock it. I don’t drink enough to go spending money buying bottles of spirits that are minging.

    I have heard that Scottish gin is doing a roaring trade – might not be long before it is up there with the whisky exports?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Contrary August 3, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      I’ve been thinking about this, and I really don’t think there would be any mileage in using new socks, you just would not get the right flavouring. I should imagine that particularly well-used old socks would be best – obviously I’ll have to check that with my booze experts on that though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Contrary August 3, 2017 / 8:34 pm

      Is there no pattern? What variables are you using to try and find a correlation? Or are you just obsessing about the absolute numbers?? I have noticed an increase in people, that are commenting on other blogs, mentioning yours and sometimes posting a link, this might be a factor in temporary traffic increases as well. I hope you are not defining your worthwhileness by the number of readers? I mean, you might go down that slippery newspaper slope if all you want is loads of readers & that’s all that matters. Anyway, those 9700 might have just read the headline, I bet the 752 read the entire article(s). Not that we will ever be able to tell. It is, however, a fact that people like sensation and controversy, newspapers feed that need, I’d even say it’s quite addictive, so if you are not writing about the latest piece of gossip that the MSM has created (e.g. Michelle Thomson, who was never charged or accused of anything by our justice system, has had charges dropped according to all media outlets, and the blogs spend time refuting it and clarifying it – but it is still all jumping on the bandwagon – everyone wants to hear everything about that piece of gossip, so every media outlet gets a piece of the action) then people bypass the less immediately interesting articles (to their mind – after a few facts, it’s just opinion and commentary, nothing new), to try and keep the buzz of sensationalism going.

      I don’t really like the sensationalism myself, so probably not the best person to advise. It’s not nice seeing people losing their jobs, and wellbeing, just because they’ve been bad-mouthed by a gossipy newspaper who have only done it to get their sales, and readership numbers, up. It is good that we have blogs that refute allegations, but it’s not really enough, the damage has already been done usually. Do you know anything about other country’s laws on the media & how their media is better or worse than here because of them? I think that would be interesting to look into, but you may already know everything about it!

      Why don’t you use a Twitter survey to get some stats, on how much people are reading in each article or something!? They look quite fun, but I don’t do Twitter so can’t join in. You could experiment 🙂


      • Contrary August 4, 2017 / 7:22 am

        It’s not shallow, it implies that you have set yourself unrealistic goals – that it’s possible you have set the bar too high on how you define ‘success’ for yourself, maybe not even too high, but the wrong kind of focus. People are fickle, and we are social creatures that always need approval by some group or other – these things need to be balanced so that our moods and confidence are not wholly reliant on other people. So I worry that when you keep focusing on numbers, that it is not the statistics you are thinking of, but you are defining your own perceived popularity by those numbers. I may be making too many leaps in my assumptions here, I just know that there are some features of depression and anxiety that are quite common, between the two and of the two, and one of those is being stuck in a loop because of unrealistic personal goals or standards. It usually takes outside help to find what it is, and make a judgement to put it into perspective. To get through the healing process, it takes a bit of exploring, but you need to give yourself none of these pressures, kind of start from basics again, redefine how you see yourself and how you define success – happiness should be your goal! That inner, solid core of being at peace with yourself.

        I mean, come on! You are vastly more successful than the majority of people, you reached professorship, you made a stand against the big juggernaut of the establishment, you took action to keep making a stand, you stood firm in your beliefs (and have probably done a ton of other stuff I have no idea about) – which part of that is not good enough? So what if you need a rest and to think of your own health and happiness for a while? The world will not crumble in the meantime (and that needs to be accepted!), you have already done more & been more than most people. Your goal now should now be the much harder one of your own happiness. Step back, look objectively at yourself – the positive only, of course 🙂 . The same way you turn round a news piece into only the positive, you can do that with yourself. You have already said you enjoy keeping this blog – take pleasure in it for its own sake, do not let the number of readers be the way you measure that pleasure. Small steps, one at a time. It takes effort though.

        Heh, see how much I read into ‘I can’t help it’ ? and I have been overly critical again, probably a bit too brutal and I apologise, but won’t retract – consider your knuckles duly rapped by a heavy wooden ruler, there is no such thing as ‘can’t’ !! It sounds like you might have to stop looking at the readership numbers – ignore them – walk on by – look the other way – nothing to see here – etc. If you promise this I may consider letting you know when others have posted links or directed people to your blog,,,, 😀


      • johnrobertson834 August 4, 2017 / 2:15 pm

        Steady Contrary, your kind words will have me greetin. You are probably right that a big readership cheers me up and a low one subconsciously lowers me. Have just been put on another anti-depressant. Being on diazepam alone is a known risk for utterly irrational depression so here’s hoping.


      • Contrary August 4, 2017 / 4:43 pm

        Ask for Behavioral Activation as well, it works pretty well apparently.


      • Contrary August 4, 2017 / 10:31 pm

        Should have posted a link for that, it’s taken me a while to find it. This is a general look at behavioural activation, from about 10 years back:

        Behavioural activation

        Here is a more recent study, by smartphone, (trial between BA and mindfulness)

        Doubt that’s available on the NHS yet! A friend of mine fairly recently got 6 non-smartphone sessions, I think, with the NHS, and along with antidepressants, managed to go from barely getting out of bed, to pottering in garden, to activity classes, to getting back into work, in less than a year. Not fully better of course, but can get on with life & enjoy it.

        You may have missed my reference to thinking errors earlier, (somewhere,) I actually chuckle at most of these – there are examples with better descriptions than these, but would really take up too much space – we have all done them at some point in our lives! This list was produced by the university of reading, I hope I’m not plagerising or breaching things, so don’t tell anyone, just in case:

        “…common thinking errors:

        All or nothing thinking

        This is also known as ‘black or white’ or ‘dichotomous’ thinking and means seeing the world in extremes. So for example, things can only ever be perfect or awful. If you are not a genius, it must mean that you are stupid. If you are not the life and soul of the party, then you must be boring. All or nothing thinking means not being able to see the shades of grey which fall in between the black and white. …someone thinking that they are ‘useless’ because they have failed their driving test and thinking that they ‘fail at everything’, when in reality they have only failed in one small area of their life.


        People with anxiety and depression are more likely to predict the worst when faced with a challenging situation, with different possible outcomes. For example, someone may predict failing their driving test before they have even taken it (meaning this negative outcome is more likely to happen).


        We can’t get inside someone else’s head to know for sure how they are feeling or what they are thinking. However, people sometimes make assumptions about what other people are thinking without any hard evidence – so for example, when someone shares the news that they have failed at something they may assume that the other person will think they are ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’ (eg I know he’s saying all of these nice things, but secretly, he’s thinking how stupid I am).

        Discounting the positive

        As the name suggests, discounting the positive means only focusing on and acknowledging the negative aspects of a situation. Positive aspects will be disregarded or downplayed as unimportant. So for example, in the case of a driving test, discounting the positives would involve disregarding all the parts of the test which were done well.


        This thinking style is also known as ‘awfulising’. This occurs when an individual is only able to see the very worst that could happen – so if they fail a driving test, they will think about the consequences of this, in much the same way as a chain reaction, ie, ‘I won’t be able to drive, I won’t get a good job, I’ll never make anything of myself, I won’t be able to provide for my family, I’ll be a complete failure my whole life’.

        Other thinking errors which may also be seen in anxiety and depression include:


        When one bad thing happens to someone and they overgeneralise, they think that everything is bad and that everything else will go wrong too.


        This occurs when an individual assumes the things that other people say or do, are in reaction to them, ie if someone looks at their watch when having a conversation with you, it must be because they think you’re boring or dull. Emotional reasoning occurs when an individual assumes that feeling a certain way, is synonymous with actually being a certain way (so for example, feeling like a failure means that you are a failure).


        Labelling is a form of over generalisation and all or nothing thinking. A common example noted in depression might occur when making a mistake and an individual calls him/herself a ‘loser’ because of this.


        People suffering from depression may in particular show a tendency to blame themselves for situations or events which are beyond their control (eg If I wasn’t such a bad employee, my boss wouldn’t give me such a hard time; if I wasn’t such a bad wife, my husband wouldn’t drink so much).


        Sometimes, people may have very strict rules about how they and others should/must feel and behave. They may feel angry if others break these rules and guilty if they actually break them (eg I shouldn’t take any time off. I must work hard all the time).”

        These were in reference to other kinds of CBT treatment. But that’s where I get the ‘positive only’ thinking from. It was a bit uncomfortable looking out some of this stuff again – remembering that I was determined to stop avoiding things – I really am a serial avoider, and procrastinator – and it’s not good for you! I managed to avoid stopping avoiding by conveniently procrastinating then forgetting about it 🙂 … Oops?


      • johnrobertson834 August 5, 2017 / 7:53 am

        Thank you very much for taking the time to offer all this. I will check out those links. Regrettably a major part of my problem is addiction to diazepam which is causing depression I don’t seem to be able to get rid off with any therapy i’ve tried so far.



        Gin prob not the answer


      • Contrary August 7, 2017 / 8:21 am

        A last word on behavour activation (BA) – I have a lot of news to catch up on after a weekend mostly away from the Internet!

        At first glance the conundrum of antidepressant addiction and depression looks like a catch-22, but in fact I think that depression is rarely a condition in isolation, often found in conjunction with anxiety too. The good thing about BA is that it doesn’t look at the wherefores and whys – sometimes there is no ‘reason’ after all – and assumes that you cannot change your life circumstances (that could be contributing). What could you do about a family member with dementia for example, after all? BA deals with the here and now, and the future. A therapist should look at a persons individual set of behaviours that can be changed for the better and at the same time eliminating thinking errors for each stage. It would only be simple manageable tasks, but carefully timetabled, like enjoying a cup of tea again three times a week, getting the kids’ breakfasts once a week (I.e. Not running a 10K every morning).

        One of the big focuses is to get the person enjoying things they used to in the past again – you can’t get out of the pit while you believe you don’t ‘deserve’ to enjoy anything, when you feel guilt in taking any pleasure in life because you believe you have failed at one aspect of your life (see thinking errors ‘all or nothing’,,, etc!), and looks to build up a set of coping tools. It is a holistic approach, but fairly simple in principle, and has been found to work pretty well & not cost a lot compared to other treatments. I am just a lay-person that has only read about it, so can’t say how accurate my description is in practice! But in the meantime, there seems to be no harm in working on the thinking errors 😀 !


    • Contrary August 3, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      P.s. I think the graphics you use are top class, so wouldn’t think to change that aspect – if you are thinking of change!


    • John August 4, 2017 / 7:14 am

      Your site is often linked on the Nicola Sturgeon Appreciation Society John , you are probably more read than you know .


  5. John August 3, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Maybe a quote from Davidson and Dugdale on how badly Scottish exports are performing under this SNP government will help get your numbers up today .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ian Kirkwood August 3, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Great to see the vibrancy and innovation behind the Gin boom. Went to the Drygate brewery at the weekend during a visit to Glasgow, the craft beer sector seems to be doing well too.


  7. Ludo Thierry August 3, 2017 / 11:54 am

    Hi Prof et al – Heavens above Prof – that picture you have put up of The Donald in your latest post is enough to give people nightmares – please don’t let children or those of a nervous disposition see it too often. (The thought occurs that there is a certain similarity in the aggressive expression and finger jabbing to Tory Ruth D in full flow)

    Hi Ian K – you make an excellent point re. the Scottish craft beer sector showing good growth and huge potential. Interestingly the Herald today carries a story re. an Agricultural Institute based in Dundee (is it called the James Hutton Institute? – I never trust my memory for names) – Staff at the Institute did some work recently re. growing hop plants in Scotland and reckon there is real potential in this field (did you catch my subtle word-play there?). Apparently most hops used internationally come from Germany and USA – seems that German production has been suffering drought issues and there are regular shortages of hops on the world market currently. The Team who worked on the Scottish trial crop seem convinced that Scotland (despite our weather) could offer a crop which they describe as filling the ‘high end’ requirements (ie for flavours rather than ‘bitterness’) – Thanks all, Ludo


    • johnrobertson834 August 3, 2017 / 2:46 pm

      I should also say, it’s only prof to plonkers. To you it’s john


  8. Ludo Thierry August 3, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Hi John – from now on it will be ‘John’ – rather than ‘Prof’ – In mitigation I just mention that I work in NHS and we have quite a few colleagues who tend to get dubbed ‘Prof’ or ”Doc’ and one gets into that bad habit – will try to make sure no slip-ups in future! – Cheers, ludo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Diane Davidson August 4, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    I have lots of your articles bookmarked to a special GOOD NEWS folder and often post a link in reply to comments that come up on my facebook page. Sometimes I spend ages looking for one I have read but not saved….which invariably leads me to another! Hours can quickly disappear. I really appreciate all the work you do….thank you. Nana – a regular on the Wings Over Scotland site, and others there, put up links to interesting articles which include yours too.


  10. John August 4, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    John , last link to your site from Nicola Sturgeon Appreciation Group was on the NHS , 23rd July.


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