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They'll drink to that: Boost for Scotch whisky exports in 2016

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images

There must be enough troubles in the world to turn everyone to drink if the latest figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) are anything to go by, with half a billion bottles being exported overseas in the first six months of the year.

The first half of 2016 saw Scotch whisky's global export volume grow by 3.1 percent, according to new analysis from the SWA.

The SWA said this represented the equivalent of 533 million bottles being shipped overseas, up from 517 million in the first half of 2015, and was the first growth in volume since the first six months of 2013. The customs value of shipments was down, however, from £1.71 billion to £1.70 billion, it added.

"The first half of 2016 was marked by an improving Scotch whisky export performance, suggesting a strengthening in global consumer demand compared to the last couple of years," David Frost, chief executive of the SWA, said in a statement.

"The industry-wide emphasis on craftsmanship and provenance, backed by investment, means that Scotch exports are well-placed to grow in the future, appealing to consumers in both mature and emerging markets," he added.

The SWA said that exports to the U.S. had increased by 9 percent to £357 million, while exports to India were £43 million, up 28 percent.

"It is clear, however, that the uncertainties of the Brexit vote will create challenges for exporters and we continue to encourage early clarity on the likely shape of the UK's future trading relationship with the EU and other countries," Frost said.

"We are working closely with our members and government to ensure the industry's trade priorities are well understood, to promote open markets, and to identify opportunities to grow our exports in the future," he added.