Just like a good whisky, the tale of how the Scottish drink has endured trade disputes, world wars and pandemics is both complex and deserving of your time, explains University of Glasgow professor Niall G. MacKenzie.

The industry has spent 200 years building supply lines all over the world. The tipple’s appeal to U.S. drinkers survived Prohibition and is now enjoyed across the world, with India and China becoming key markets more recently. As a result, the latest U.K. government data shows Scottish distillers saw a 25% sales boost in 2022.

Another factor in Scotch whisky’s global success: As the tastes of drinkers in these various markets have changed over time, the industry has pivoted to adapt – even amid the kind of supply chain problems many industries have dealt with in recent years. Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson called whisky the “king o’ drinks,” and it seems the world is inclined to agree.

Pauline McCallion

Senior Business Editor, The Conversation U.K.

How canny marketing and strong supply links gave the world a taste for Scotch whisky

Niall G MacKenzie, University of Glasgow

Scotch whisky has grown its export business in recent years by developing smart marketing strategies and strong distribution networks.

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