Scotland exported more whisky last year as over 1.2 billion bottles were sent overseas, new figures have revealed.
The value of whisky exports dropped slightly from more than £4.27bn in 2012 to just under £4.26bn in 2013, according to figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
But its figures show a 3 per cent increase in the volume of exports, with the equivalent of 1,228,559,804 bottles being sent abroad to be sold last year, up from 1,198,547,504 in 2012.
The whisky industry accounts for about 85 per cent of Scotland’s food and drink exports, and nearly a quarter of the UK total.
Exports of the drink to America were worth almost £820m last year, up by 8 per cent from 2012 to a record high.
It was also a record year for whisky exports to India, with the value growing by 11.5 per cent to almost £69m.
There was also a 38 per cent increase in the value of exports to Poland, with these reaching £60m last year. Exports to Brazil and Mexico grew by almost a fifth, with their value reaching £110m in Mexico and £99m in Brazil.
But in some parts of Asia exports were not as strong as in previous years, with the SWA blaming slower economic growth and austerity measures for the drop. The value of exports to both Japan and South Korea fell by 15 per cent, while in Taiwan the value dropped by 12.5 per cent.
China fell out of the top 20 export markets in 2013 after the value dropped by almost 30 per cent to £51m, while the value of exports to Venezuela fell by more than a third (34 per cent) to just over £67m.
SWA chief executive David Frost said while overall exports remained “strong”, the industry was facing some “economic headwinds” in the short term.
He added that whatever the result of September’s independence referendum, the whisky sector would continue to need the support of an “effective diplomatic network” overseas.