These facts about one of Scotland’s best-known exports might surprise you – including just how important it is to the country’s economy.
The first evidence of whisky production in Scotland is a entry in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland in 1494 saying that malt was sent to “Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make aquavitae” (a Latin word for alcohol).
It was enough to make around 500 bottles of the spirit, which it’s thought had been made in Scotland’s monasteries since the Romans brought the art of winemaking – but no grapes – to Britain hundreds of years earlier.
Since then whisky has become one of Scotland’s best whisky brands, distinct from the ‘whiskey’ produced elsewhere, and a glass of Scotch is now a sign of sophistication around the world.
Here are 10 incredible facts and figures about Scotland’s national drink, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.
1. A billion-bottle industry
Every second of every day in 2020, 36 standard bottles of Scotch Whisky were shipped from Scotland to 166 countries around the world. This means that over 1.14 billion bottles are exported each year. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. Sales that are out of this world
If you laid all the bottles of Scotch Whisky exported each year end-to-end, they would stretch around 342,000kms - 90 per cent of the distance to the moon. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Economical importance
In 2019, Scotch Whisky accounted for 75 per cent of all Scottish food and drink exports, 21 per cent of all UK food and drink exports, and 1.4 per cent of all UK goods exports. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
4. A profitable dram
Annually, Scotch Whisky exports are worth £3.8 billion to the Scottish economy, with the entire industry bringing in a hefty £5.5 billion. Photo: Canva/Getty Images