The UK’s distilling sector has experienced a boom in terms of growth in the number of distilling enterprises. Although most of this recent growth has been in England, Scottish distilleries remain dominant in terms of revenue-share and employment-size band.
As the whisky capital of the world it is unsurprising that by the end of 2019 Scotland had 280 distilling related business local units (ie individual sites associated with an enterprise involved in the ‘distilling, rectifying and blending of spirits’). Since 2010 the number of these units has grown by 93% in Scotland, with the vast majority of this growth happening over the last four years.
The growth in the number of enterprises (ie the overall businesses or legal unit) involved in the ‘distilling, rectifying and blending of spirits’ in Scotland has been even more impressive. Over the nine year period to 2019, the number of enterprises in Scotland increased by 278% from 45 to 170 enterprises.
In 2018 approximately 82% of all distilling jobs in Great Britain were based in Scotland, with the industry employing 9,000 people. This, combined with the fact that the spirits industry is responsible for approximately 3% of total GDP in Scotland, means that the industry is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy.
The growth in the number of Scottish distilling enterprises has also brought peripheral benefits. Demand from the tourism sector for food and drink related experiences has led to a rising number of festivals, whisky trails, brewery tours and visitor centres.