Scotch whisky industry to hold annual gathering

Plans to strengthen and grow the Scotch whisky industry over the next three decades will be at the heart of the sector’s annual conference.

The annual Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) members’ day is taking place in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

In her speech, SWA chief executive Karen Betts is expected to outline her vision for the industry up to the year 2050.

She will tell the gathering: “2050 isn’t far away, particularly for an industry that thinks in decades rather than in years.

“So we need to work now, with governments and other partners at home and overseas, to ensure our vision of the future can be realised. A vision in which our industry grows and strengthens globally, with each bottle of Scotch exported continuing to take that unique taste of Scotland, and a unique piece of our heritage, to consumers worldwide.”

She will add that by 2050, she expects Scotch whisky “to remain the world’s pre-eminent whisky”.

Ms Betts is also expected to say that Scotch whisky is a “textbook example of the benefits of free trade”.

She will say: “It has benefited our businesses, our employees and our consumers. Today, ever-more open markets and ever-fairer trading conditions mean that people all over the world can buy an ever-wider range of Scotch – produced by a large company or a small distillery – at ever-more locally competitive prices.”

On the topic of climate change, she will tell delegates that by 2050 the industry will have reduced its reliance on fossil fuels to zero.

“In their place, we’ll be using renewable sources of energy, building on the solid foundations we have in place today.

“Through continued industry investment in groundbreaking research, innovation and new technologies, we anticipate that many of our distilleries will be completely self-sufficient in their energy use.”