According to the most recent data, India has surpassed France as the largest volume consumer of Scotch whisky worldwide. According to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), whisky producers exported 219 million bottles to India in 2021, a 60% increase. By value, the US remains the biggest consumer; in 2022, it imported Scotch whisky worth £1.05 billion (INR 103,862,949). India came in at number five.
Scotch has long been considered a prestige symbol in India, the country still only accounts for 2% of the global whisky market. Millions of Indian consumers have always chosen blended whisky since it is less expensive. But because of cultural changes and an increase in Indians’ purchasing power, there has also been an increase in demand for more expensive single malts.
While India’s contribution to worldwide Scotch sales has increased significantly-exports to the nation increased by more than 200% over the past ten years-exporters still see plenty of space for expansion. Due primarily to lobbying by domestic distillers, India imposes a 150% import levy on each bottle of Scotch whisky, pushing up costs and reducing companies’ profit margins. The SWA hopes that a long-awaited trade deal between India and the UK could help ease this – the two countries missed a deadline last October to conclude the agreement, but have conducted several rounds of talks so far.
According to internal analysis, the deal may result in “an additional £1 billion in growth over the next five years” for Scotch whisky, one of the items whose sales could soar if tariffs are reduced. By both value and volume, France came in second on the SWA’s list.