The momentous tide of Brexit has left whisky makers and lovers with an uncertainty during a time of expansion for the spirits market. The EU membership was beneficial for Scotch whisky makers.
Though Scotch whisky makers wanted to stay in the European Union during the referendum, with the impending Brexit process, they are seeking a transparent break from the EU. The global demand and popularity of British products vouches for the fact that Britain can exist even outside the EU.
Some producers are conditionally open minded to continue within the Brussels rule in the single market and customs union, if they could sway the regulations and have a say in the bilateral trade deals. However, Karen Betts, chief executive officer of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) expressed concern by saying, “When we think it through, there are real risks, if you stay in the single market, of continuing to be bound by the EU's rules but not being able to influence them.”
The SWA was an advocate for remaining in the EU but with the Brexit vote, it does see potential benefits and general optimism similar to the whisky producers. Betts said, “If the UK does leave the EU there will certainly be advantages for us, in the UK's ability to negotiate free trade deals with countries around the world outside Europe that are important markets for us. So India for example, China, Brazil." She adds to the hopeful echo by saying, “I think the thing that gives all our companies confidence is that there is strong demand for Scotch all over the world and there has been for many hundreds of years."
The push for a clean Brexit by the industry is even more relevant in the current scenario, as the British economy is witnessing a positive boom in the trailblazing export of the iconic drink. The biggest markets of growth have pointed outside the EU with overseas sales hitting £4.36 billion in 2017, more than a fifth of the total of Britain's food and drink exports, and providing 40,000 jobs.
Scotch whisky is not just a core export adding to the economy but has always been a national heritage of Scotland. As the UK navigates through Brexit negotiations, the whisky industry awaits its unravelling future.