World Whisky Day: Seven surprising figures from the Scotch whisky industry

Jessica Morris
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Scotch whisky added nearly £5bn to the UK economy last year (Source: Getty)

Scotch drinkers will be smiling tomorrow as World Whisky Day gives them an excuse to guzzle their favourite tipple. And as people around the world gear up to celebrate the so-called "liquid gold" here's a quick overview of its surprisingly important contribution to the UK economy:

Here are seven important figures for the Scotch whisky industry, according to a report by 4-Consulting.

£3.3bn to the UK economy

Scotch whisky adds £3.3bn "directly" to the UK economy, according to the report - and nearly £5bn to UK GDP overall - and it's increased 27 per cent since 2008.

For every £1 of added value that the industry produces, an extra 52p of value is created in the broader economy - so every £1m of value added in the industry creates an extra £520,000 in the broader economy.

The sector adds more value to the economy than iron/steel, textiles, shipbuilding, or computer industries. For size and scope; it's roughly half the size of the pharmaceuticals or aerospace industries, or a third of the size of the UK's entire car industry.

£4.85bn in exports

The Scotch whisky industry is the UK's largest single food and drink sector, comprising 25 per cent of the industry's exports, worth a total of £19.4bn in 2013. That means its exports amount to about £4.85bn.

And in 2012, Scotch whisky exports were almost 80 per cent of Scotland’s £5.4bn food and drink exports.

Without it, last year's trade deficit would have been 16 per cent larger

The Scotch whisky industry was the UK's second strongest contributor to national trade performance, because most of its imports are derived from the UK. Without it, last year's trade deficit would've been 16 per cent larger.

40,300 jobs

Anyone who harbours ambitions to work in the beverages sector should take a shot at the Scotch whisky industry. It supports around 40,300 jobs directly and indirectly across the country. And each job in the sector supports an additional 2.7 jobs in the broader economy.

£47,000 average salary

And if love of the liquid gold alone isn't enough, those working in the sector will be pleased to know the Scotch whisky industry pays the third-best salaries in Scotland. In fact, its employees are actually better off than those working in financial and business services.

Last year its workers took home a total of £520m, representing a 12 per cent increase in five years, putting the average salary at £47,000 per person.

£1.4bn a year to Scottish suppliers

Scotch's supply chain spans distillery purchases of cereals, transport services and bottling plants as well as high street shops. Every £1 paid to the sector's supply chain sustains a further 54p in salaries to workers in that supply chain. Overall, Scotch whisky producers spend a sizeable £1.4bn a year on their Scottish suppliers.

£250m to Scotland's rural communities

Scotch whisky sustains around 7,400 jobs in Scotland's rural communities, about £900m in added value to their economies and around £250m of income in Scotland’s rural communities.

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